Network perspectives on adaptation and resilience in social-ecological systems: I

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Organizers: Matthew Hamilton, Alexandra Paige Fischer
Chairs: Matthew Hamilton


At scales ranging from local to global, efforts to enhance resilience and adaptation under changing environmental conditions depend largely on how individual people, organizations, and other social groups work together to address environmental challenges. Methodological and theoretical advances in network science have spurred research on how the structural characteristics of natural resource management networks shape social and environmental outcomes (Bodin and Crona 2009, Bodin 2017). In particular, a growing area of research focuses on the conditions under which social networks align with ecological networks, and associated effects on ecosystem management goals. Central to this research program is recognition that ecological processes, like social processes, are characterized by interactions. Efforts to manage invasive species in one protected area depend upon conditions in neighboring lands; efforts to reduce wildfire risk depend upon the connectivity of flammable vegetation at the landscape-level. The theory of institutional fit argues that misalignment in patterns of environmental variation and social organization for management can result in disruption, inefficiencies, and failures in system functions (Young 2002, Ostrom 2010, Treml et al. 2015). Accordingly, natural resource management institutions should perform better if they better “fit” key features of the environments in which they are embedded, for example when organizations managing lands that are connected via ecological processes themselves coordinate natural resource management initiatives. Coupled analysis of social and ecological networks offers potential for improving understanding of how environmental outcomes depend upon institutional fit, how “micro-level” patterns of interactions in social-ecological networks aggregate to shape characteristics of institutional fit at the governance system-level, and how patterns of ecological connectivity influence the costs and benefits of collaboration among sets of resource users or environmental management organizations. In social-ecological systems experiencing the effects of climate change, network analysis of the coevolution of social and ecological systems can help identify institutional arrangements and policy interventions that may improve resilience to disturbance events or facilitate adaptation to future conditions. This organized session will explore the concepts of institutional fit in a variety of empirical contexts. Presenters will report on research and syntheses that apply network tools and perspectives to advance understanding of the factors that shape the structure of social and ecological networks, as well as the implications of structural characteristics of those networks for adaptation to environmental change.

Bodin, Ö. 2017. Collaborative environmental governance: Achieving collective action in social-ecological systems. Science 357(6352):eaan1114.
Bodin, O., and B. I. Crona. 2009. The role of social networks in natural resource governance: What relational patterns make a difference? Global Environmental Change 19(3):366–374.
Ostrom, E. 2010. Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change. Global Environmental Change 20(4):550–557.
Treml, E. A., P. I. J. Fidelman, S. Kininmonth, J. A. Ekstrom, and Ö. Bodin. 2015. Analyzing the (mis)fit between the institutional and ecological networks of the Indo-West Pacific. Global Environmental Change 31:263–271.
Young, O. R. 2002. The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental Change: Fit, Interplay, and Scale. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Matthew Hamilton*, University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainability, Paige Fischer, University of Michigan, School for Environment and Sustainability, Alan Ager, United States Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Using social-ecological networks to assess alignment of risk interdependence and collaborative risk mitigation in a wildfire-prone ecosystem 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Jeremy Pittman*, , Network governance and social-ecological fit in land-sea systems 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Patrick Bitterman*, University of Vermont, Christopher Koliba, University of Vermont, An Adaptive Agent-Based Model of Water Governance Networks in the Lake Champlain Basin Social-Ecological System 20 8:40 AM
Presenter Meghan Klasic*, University of California - Davis, Rachel Lamb*, University of Maryland, College Park, Vanessa Vargas, University of Maryland, Kelly Siman, University of Akron, Bereket Nagasi Isaac, University of Waterloo, Kelsey Leonard, McMaster University, ​Social-Ecological ​Network ​Structures ​of ​Lake ​Erie ​Water ​Quality ​Management 20 9:00 AM
Presenter Stacey Giroux*, , Kurt Waldman, Indiana University, Jordan Blekking, Indiana University, Tom Evans, Indiana University, Smallholder Farmer Resource Networks and Adaptation in Drought-Prone Agroecosystems 20 9:20 AM

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