Wednesday 7
Social-Ecological Networks – an emerging transdisciplinary approach to study social-ecological systems
Orjan Bodin, Beatrice Crona
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
Are Existing Institutions Prepared ("Fit") for Ocean Acidification?
Julia Ekstrom  1@  
1 : Natural Resources Defense Council
San Francisco, California -  États-Unis

party of session: Social-Ecological Networks - an emerging transdisciplinary approach to study social-ecological systems 

With rapid population growth, climate change, ocean acidification and continuing changing land use patterns, scientists expect major global environmental changes over the next century and beyond. The path of institutions and their dynamics will largely steer these drivers of environmental change. Adapting such institutions (or designing new ones) to have the capacity to deal with future environmental conditions is key to shifting the current trajectory toward more resilient and adaptive socio-ecological systems. As such, the need arises for analyzing institutions with respect to the projected environmental changes. 

How well is our environmental governance prepared for dealing with projected environmental change? Where are the gaps and can we leverage what institutions we have or do we need to design new regimes? The notion of institution-ecosystem "fit" is especially useful to help answer these questions. In this presentation, I demonstrate a method developed to evaluate how well a set of institutions fits with a socio-ecological system. Quantitative indicators measure the degree of fit between formal institutions (laws and regulations) and a socio-ecological system (conceptual model of ocean acidification and its impacts). The type of misfit evaluated here is the failure of an institution or a set of institutions to take adequately into account the nature, functionality, and dynamics of the specific socio-ecological system it influences. 

The socio-ecological system model presented here represents a future conceptual scenario of drivers and impacts of ocean acidification in a kelp forest ecosystem in California, USA. Results point to gaps in existing institutions, specifying what should be priorities that policymakers and constituents of less formal institutions could help fill in order to prepare for ocean acidification. Results also systematically reveal what institutions can be used or strengthened to deal with some predicted environmental changes.

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