Tuesday 6
Ecosystems services and sustainable intensification : Trade-offs analysis with biophysical and participatory modeling approaches
Fred Kizito, Christophe Le Page, Leigh Winowiecki
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
Socio-ecohydrologic services and agents in a bi-national context: resilience of semi-arid riparian systems
Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman  1@  
1 : University of Arizona  (UofA)  -  Website

Riparian corridors in arid regions are highly valued for their relative scarcity, and because healthy riparian systems support high levels of biodiversity, can meet human demand for water and water-related resources and functions. Loss of healthy riparian zones is a worldwide problem, but one that is acutely problematic in transboundary contexts such as the U.S. southwest and adjacent regions of northern Mexico. Our team is taking a transdiciplinary social-ecological systems (SES) approach to assessing riparian corridor resilience in two watersheds (the San Pedro River in USA and Mexico, and the Rio San Miguel in Mexico) through a project funded by the NSF CNH program. The binational context provides an opportunity to assess the influence of differing social and institutional dynamics in a relatively more homogenous ecohydrologic setting. Multiple perspectives are integrated in the project, including hydrology, ecology, institutional dynamics, and decision making (at the level of both policy and individual choice), as well as the perspectives of various stakeholder groups and individuals residing in the watersheds. Here we discuss several initial findings from this project that center around linking changes in ecohydrology and livelihood related decisions in response to climatic, ecological, and social change. The research team is implementing several approaches to integrate the disparate disciplines participating in the research (as well as the varied perspectives among the stakeholders in this binational riparian context) that include ecosystem service assessment and agent based model (ABM) simulation. We are developing an ecosystem service perspective that provides a bridge between ecological dynamics in the landscape and varied stakeholder perspectives on the implications of ecohydrology for well-being (economic, cultural, ecological). Services are considered as an emergent property of the SES, linked on one hand to the spatial patterns of communities and species, and to stakeholder perspectives on the other (facilitating integration of ecosystem services into our understanding of decision making processes). The ABM approach incorporates the influence of human decision-making on spatially-explicit landscapes in a mechanistic way that allows individual stakeholders to make decisions based on their unique perceptions of their environment, be it economic, social, or ecological awareness. Initial parameterization of the ABM proceeds from stakeholder workshops and semi-structured interviews held in Rayón, Sonora, Mexico and Sierra Vista, Arizona, USA that were used to elicit perceptions by water resource users of SES function, change, and solutions relating to livelihood changes in response to several drivers. In both case studies, we see the potential and limitations for an approach to adaptive management and decision support related to water resources that links ecosystem services and agent-based modeling. Methodologically, synthetic approaches such as these may allow coupling of systems for improved assessment and analysis, while at the same time lack a connection to the perspectives of water users and managers on the ground. There is thus potential for either a loss of system resilience in the face of external change, or an opportunity to increase system resilience by building off perspectives already in place within these coupled socio-ecologic systems.

Online user: 1 RSS Feed