Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    We will mail you new results for this query: keywords==Social-ecological systems
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Design and quality criteria for archetype analysis
Eisenack, Klaus ; Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio ; Epstein, Graham ; Kimmich, Christian ; Magliocca, Nicholas ; Manuel-Navarrete, David ; Oberlack, Christoph ; Roggero, Matteo ; Sietz, Diana - \ 2019
Ecology and Society 24 (2019)3. - ISSN 1708-3087
Abstraction - Archetype analysis - Generalization - Ideographic trap - Interdisciplinary collaboration - Panacea - Pattern - Qualitative - Quantitative - Research design - Social-ecological systems - Validity

A key challenge in addressing the global degradation of natural resources and the environment is to effectively transfer successful strategies across heterogeneous contexts. Archetype analysis is a particularly salient approach in this regard that helps researchers to understand and compare patterns of (un)sustainability in heterogeneous cases. Archetype analysis avoids traps of overgeneralization and ideography by identifying reappearing but nonuniversal patterns that hold for well-defined subsets of cases. It can be applied by researchers working in inter-or transdisciplinary settings to study sustainability issues from a broad range of theoretical and methodological standpoints. However, there is still an urgent need for quality standards to guide the design of theoretically rigorous and practically useful archetype analyses. To this end, we propose four quality criteria and corresponding research strategies to address them: (1) specify the domain of validity for each archetype, (2) ensure that archetypes can be combined to characterize single cases, (3) explicitly navigate levels of abstraction, and (4) obtain a fit between attribute configurations, theories, and empirical domains of validity. These criteria are based on a stocktaking of current methodological challenges in archetypes research, including: to demonstrate the validity of the analysis, delineate boundaries of archetypes, and select appropriate attributes to define them. We thus contribute to a better common understanding of the approach and to the improvement of the research design of future archetype analyses.

Exploring social preferences for ecosystem services of multifunctional agriculture across policy scenarios
Bernués, Alberto ; Alfnes, Frode ; Clemetsen, Morten ; Eik, Lars Olav ; Faccioni, Georgia ; Ramanzin, Maurizio ; Ripoll-Bosch, Raimon ; Rodríguez-Ortega, Tamara ; Sturaro, Enrico - \ 2019
Ecosystem Services 39 (2019). - ISSN 2212-0416
Abandonment - Agrienvironmental policy - Economic values - Intensification - Social-ecological systems - Trade-offs

Multifunctional agroecosystems are the result of complex adaptive interactions between humans and nature where trade-offs between food production and other ecosystem services are key. Our objective is to explore the social preferences for ecosystem services, and the associated willingness to pay, in three multifunctional agroecosystem in Europe (Mediterranean, Atlantic, Alpine) under alternative agrienvironmental policy scenarios. We use the same methodology (a choice experiment including equivalent attributes and levels) to rank and estimate the economic value of provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural ecosystem services. We define the scenarios (current situation, abandonment and enhanced management) in biophysical terms to elucidate changing relations between social perception and level of delivery of ecosystem services. We derive some lessons. i) Value of ES: biodiversity and regulating ecosystem services always produce welfare gains; people, however, perceive trade-offs between delivery of agricultural landscapes and quality food products. Nevertheless, preferences are heterogeneous and vary across regions, scenarios and ES. ii) Policymaking: society's willingness to pay for the delivery of ecosystem service exceeds largely the current level of public support. Moreover, further abandonment and intensification of agriculture is clearly rejected by the public. iii) Methodological: monetary valuation is context dependent and extrapolation of economic values can be misleading.

Overcapitalization and social norms of cooperation in a small-scale fishery
Schaap, Robbert ; Richter, Andries - \ 2019
Ecological Economics 166 (2019). - ISSN 0921-8009
Cooperation - Evolutionary game theory - Fisheries - Investment - Overcapacity - Social norms - Social-ecological systems - Technological efficiency

The increasing technological efficiency of harvesting equipment has been identified as one of the main causes of overcapacity and overexploitation of natural resources. In this paper, a formal model is developed which studies the effects of technological efficiency as an endogenous variable within a bioeconomic system. We model capital investments in a fishery, where investment decisions are made less frequently than the allocation of variable inputs. We study how the possibility to invest in capital affects open access dynamics, and also the evolution of cooperative harvesting norms. We find that the possibility to make large capital investments can destabilize cooperation, especially if enforcement capacity is low. Further, we find that communities can preserve cooperation by agreeing on a resource level that is lower than socially-optimal. This reduces the incentive to deviate from the cooperative strategy and invest in capital.

Analysing social-ecological interactions in disease control: An agent-based model on farmers’ decision making and potato late blight dynamics
Pacilly, Francine C.A. ; Hofstede, Gert Jan ; Lammerts van Bueren, Edith T. ; Groot, Jeroen C.J. - \ 2019
Environmental Modelling & Software 119 (2019). - ISSN 1364-8152 - p. 354 - 373.
Consumat - Phytophthora infestans - Resistance management - Social-ecological systems

In this paper we focus on potato late blight control in the Netherlands to analyse the social-ecological interactions between farmer behaviour and disease dynamics. An agent-based model was developed to analyse the use of crop resistance for sustainable disease control. The framework on farmers’ decision-making was based on a behavioural theory and supported by data from literature and interviews with Dutch potato farmers. This framework was integrated with a previously developed spatially explicit model on potato late blight dynamics. We assumed a scenario where a new resistant potato variety was introduced to the market. The model reproduced a boom-and-bust cycle: the percentage of farmers growing the resistant variety increased until resistance breakdown occurred by emergence and spread of a virulent strain, and in response farmers switched to other potato varieties and management strategies. Several factors and processes were identified that could contribute to the development of sustainable disease management strategies.

Technology driven inequality leads to poverty and resource depletion
Usman Mirza, M. ; Richter, Andries ; Nes, Egbert H. van; Scheffer, Marten - \ 2019
Ecological Economics 160 (2019). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 215 - 226.
Critical transitions - Dynamic systems - Inequality - Poverty trap - Social-ecological systems - Technology

The rapid rise in inequality is often seen to go in-hand with resource overuse. Examples include water extraction in Pakistan, land degradation in Bangladesh, forest harvesting in Sub-Saharan Africa and industrial fishing in Lake Victoria. While access to ecosystem services provided by common pool resources mitigates poverty, exclusive access to technology by wealthy individuals may fuel excessive resource extraction and deplete the resource, thus widening the wealth gap. We use a stylised social-ecological model, to illustrate how a positive feedback between wealth and technology may fuel local inequality. The resulting rise in local inequality can lead to resource degradation and critical transitions such as ecological resource collapse and unexpected increase in poverty. Further, we find that societies may evolve towards a stable state of few wealthy and many poor individuals, where the distribution of wealth depends on how access to technology is distributed. Overall, our results illustrate how access to technology may be a mechanism that fuels resource degradation and consequently pushes most vulnerable members of society into a poverty trap.

Deciphering landscapes through the lenses of locals: The “Territorial Social-Ecological Networks” Framework applied to a Brazilian maroon case
Ayaviri Matuk, Fernanda ; Behagel, Jelle ; Gonçalves Reynaud Schaefer, Carlos Ernesto ; Duque-Brasil, Reinaldo ; Turnhout, Esther - \ 2019
Geoforum 100 (2019). - ISSN 0016-7185 - p. 101 - 115.
Adaptive co-management - Indigenous and local knowledge systems - Integration - Landscape approaches - Social-ecological systems - Territory

Landscape approaches are prominent in current policy debates about how to achieve ecological, economic and social sustainability. These approaches assess local social-ecological contexts to plan adaptive management and often include indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC). An important aim of landscape approaches is to integrate different scientific disciplines, indigenous and local knowledge systems (ILK) and Western science, and global and local needs. In practice, such integration tends to favor globalized knowledge models and global needs over local ones. This article introduces a Territorial Social-Ecological Networks (TSEN) Framework for an integrated assessment of landscape settings and dynamics to overcome such tendencies. We argue that both scientific knowledge and ILK are entwined with practice and informed by worldviews. Moreover, these assemblages of knowledges-practice-worldviews are produced by social and ecological interrelations (or networks) that shape human appropriation of territory. We use an approach of methodological bricolage to apply the TSEN Framework to the case of the Brazilian Malhada Grande Maroon Territory. The results highlight how social-ecological networks of different space-time scales co-produce landscapes. Trade-offs and synergies between global and local needs are also discussed and used to identify priority needs that can be addressed by a landscape approach in the area. The analysis suggests that the TSEN Framework may be used by both scientists and practitioners to perform environmental assessments that are inclusive of social and ecological disciplines, of local and Western scientific knowledge, and of global and local needs in a landscape.

Moving perceptions on potato late blight control : Workshops with model-based scenarios
Pacilly, Francine C.A. ; Lammerts van Bueren, Edith T. ; Groot, Jeroen C.J. ; Hofstede, Gert Jan - \ 2019
Crop Protection 119 (2019). - ISSN 0261-2194 - p. 76 - 87.
Agent-based modelling - Cropping patterns - Host-pathogen interactions - Participatory modelling - Social-ecological systems
Late blight caused by Phytophthora infestans is one of the main diseases in potato production. The Netherlands has a high potato density and favourable weather conditions for the disease, and this combination leads to frequent outbreaks of late blight. A spatially explicit agent-based model of the host-pathogen system was used in workshops with conventional and organic farmers to demonstrate and discuss the potential role of resistant varieties for effective and sustainable control of late blight. We presented model-based scenarios and used qualitative and quantitative measures to analyse the effect of the workshop on farmers’ perception on late blight control. The scenarios simulated effects of farmer decisions regarding the use of crop resistance and fungicide application on disease control at the landscape level over a period of ten years. The model showed that growing a resistant variety (with a single resistance gene) can reduce disease incidence in the landscape, however, after a couple of years resistance breakdown occurs by emergence of a new virulent P. infestans strain. If no countermeasures were taken the new virulent population could spread fast through the landscape, reducing potato yield of resistant fields. The model showed a number of resistance management strategies that could be effective to increase resistance durability. Differences in farmer perception were observed before and after the workshop as well as between conventional and organic farmers. By analysing the disease dynamics at the landscape level, the model showed the importance of collective action. To prevent emergence and spread of a virulent strain it is important to keep disease pressure low. To achieve this, all farmers have to cooperate. During the workshops farmers exchanged views and negotiated possible solutions. We conclude that the use of model-based scenarios in workshops was very useful to increase farmers’ knowledge of the system and served as a good starting point for discussions among actors facing the complex problems of late blight control and potato resistance management.
Using agent-based modelling to simulate social-ecological systems across scales
Lippe, Melvin ; Bithell, Mike ; Gotts, Nick ; Natalini, Davide ; Barbrook-Johnson, Peter ; Giupponi, Carlo ; Hallier, Mareen ; Hofstede, Gert Jan ; Page, Christophe Le; Matthews, Robin B. ; Schlüter, Maja ; Smith, Peter ; Teglio, Andrea ; Thellmann, Kevin - \ 2019
Geoinformatica : an international journal on advances of computer science for geographic information systems 23 (2019)7. - ISSN 1384-6175 - p. 269 - 298.
ABM - Agent-based modelling - Cross-scale - SESs - Social-ecological systems

Agent-based modelling (ABM) simulates Social-Ecological-Systems (SESs) based on the decision-making and actions of individual actors or actor groups, their interactions with each other, and with ecosystems. Many ABM studies have focused at the scale of villages, rural landscapes, towns or cities. When considering a geographical, spatially-explicit domain, current ABM architecture is generally not easily translatable to a regional or global context, nor does it acknowledge SESs interactions across scales sufficiently; the model extent is usually determined by pragmatic considerations, which may well cut across dynamical boundaries. With a few exceptions, the internal structure of governments is not included when representing them as agents. This is partly due to the lack of theory about how to represent such as actors, and because they are not static over the time-scales typical for social changes to have significant effects. Moreover, the relevant scale of analysis is often not known a priori, being dynamically determined, and may itself vary with time and circumstances. There is a need for ABM to cross the gap between micro-scale actors and larger-scale environmental, infrastructural and political systems in a way that allows realistic spatial and temporal phenomena to emerge; this is vital for models to be useful for policy analysis in an era when global crises can be triggered by small numbers of micro-level actors. We aim with this thought-piece to suggest conceptual avenues for implementing ABM to simulate SESs across scales, and for using big data from social surveys, remote sensing or other sources for this purpose.

The resilience of social norms of cooperation under resource scarcity and inequality — An agent-based model on sharing water over two harvesting seasons
Nhim, Tum ; Richter, Andries ; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2018
Ecological Complexity (2018). - ISSN 1476-945X
Agent-based modeling - Cooperation - Inequality - Resilience - Resource scarcity - Social-ecological systems

Water governance remains a challenge for human societies, especially when the variation in resource inflow is large and the resource users are heterogeneous. We analyze with a coupled social-ecological systems (SES) model how socioeconomic and environmental changes affect the resilience of social norms governing resource use. In our model, agents have access to water as a common-pool resource and allocate it between rainy and dry seasons. While it is socially optimal to save water for the dry season, it is individually optimal to take water immediately. In our model, punishment of norm violators is the mechanism that may sustain cooperation. We show that the resilience of social norms could be affected by changes in socioeconomic and environmental conditions. Particularly, we find that social norms may collapse in times of resource scarcity and variability, especially if several drivers act in concert. Finally, we find that user heterogeneity in the form of different skills and inequality in land endowments may undermine cooperation. This implies that climatic changes and increased inequality – both potential drivers in the field – may affect community resilience and may lead to an erosion of social norms.

Self-organizing processes in urban green commons. The case of the Angachilla wetland, Valdivia-Chile
Correa, Heidy ; Blanco-Wells, Gustavo ; Barrena, José ; Tacón, Alberto - \ 2018
International Journal of the Commons 12 (2018)1. - ISSN 1875-0281 - p. 573 - 595.
Chile - Self-organization - Social-ecological systems - Urban green commons - Wetlands
This article focuses on self-organizing processes in contested urban social-ecological systems. It analyzes a wetland conservation program and civic management effort in the Angachilla sector of the city of Valdivia, Chile in a 15-year time frame. The aim is to understand what triggers collective actions and self-organization in the attempts of preserving an urban green common. The study uses a qualitative approach based on action-research methodologies. It examines key variables influencing self-organizing processes; including social-environmental crises, governance vacuums, wetland valuation, and leadership. It also discusses collective strategies for the transformation of negative feedback loops, such as norms and regulations detrimental to wetland protection, and those related to resistance to change of wetland surface area due to unregulated urbanization. From an Urban Green Commons perspective, this work illustrates the complexity of dealing with contested nature, making it a resource difficult to govern collectively given all the different interests and values in place. It also shows that there have been successful periods of active wetland management that have influenced active democratic processes regarding land use and land use change in the city.
Marine and coastal cultural ecosystem services: Knowledge gaps and research priorities
Rodrigues Garcia, João ; Conides, Alexis J. ; Rodriguez Rivero, Susana ; Raicevich, Saša ; Pita, Pablo ; Kleisner, Kristin M. ; Pita, Cristina ; Lopes, Priscila F.M. ; Roldán Alonso, Virginia ; Ramos, Sandra S. ; Klaoudatos, Dimitris ; Outeiro, Luís ; Armstrong, Claire ; Teneva, Lida ; Stefanski, Stephanie ; Böhnke-Henrichs, Anne ; Kruse, Marion ; Lillebø, Ana I. ; Bennett, Elena M. ; Belgrano, Andrea ; Murillas, Arantza ; Pinto Sousa, Isabel ; Burkhard, Benjamin ; Villasante, Sebastián - \ 2017
Wadden Sea Ecosystem 2 (2017). - ISSN 0946-896X
Co-production - Drivers of change - Global assessment - Human wellbeing - Integrated valuation - Non-material benefits - Social-ecological systems - Synergies - Systematic review - Trade-offs - Value pluralism

Cultural ecosystem services (CES) reflect peoples’ physical and cognitive interactions with nature and are increasingly recognised for providing non-material benefits to human societies. Whereas coasts, seas, and oceans sustain a great proportion of the human population, CES provided by these ecosystems have remained largely unexplored. Therefore, our aims were (1) to analyse the state of research on marine and coastal CES, (2) to identify knowledge gaps, and (3) to pinpoint research priorities and the way forward. To accomplish these objectives, we did a systematic review of the scientific literature and synthesised a subset of 72 peer-reviewed publications. Results show that research on marine and coastal CES is scarce compared to other ecosystem service categories. It is primarily focused on local and regional sociocultural or economic assessments of coastal ecosystems from Western Europe and North America. Such research bias narrows the understanding of social-ecological interactions to a western cultural setting, undermining the role of other worldviews in the understanding of a wide range of interactions between cultural practices and ecosystems worldwide. Additionally, we have identified clusters of cooccurring drivers of change affecting marine and coastal habitats and their CES. Our systematic review highlights knowledge gaps in: (1) the lack of integrated valuation assessments; (2) linking the contribution of CES benefits to human wellbeing; (3) assessing more subjective and intangible CES classes; (4) identifying the role of openocean and deep-sea areas in providing CES; and (5) understanding the role of non-natural capital in the co-production of marine and coastal CES. Research priorities should be aimed at filling these knowledge gaps. Overcoming such challenges can result in increased appreciation of marine and coastal CES, and more balanced decision-supporting mechanisms that will ultimately contribute to more sustainable interactions between humans and marine ecosystems.

Coping with the wicked problem of climate adaptation across scales : The Five R Governance Capabilities
Termeer, C.J.A.M. ; Dewulf, A. ; Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I. ; Vink, M. ; Vliet, M. van - \ 2016
Landscape and Urban Planning 154 (2016). - ISSN 0169-2046 - p. 11 - 19.
Adaptation to climate change - Enabling institutions - Governance capabilities - Governance strategies - Social-ecological systems - Wicked problems

Adapting social-ecological systems to the projected effects of climate change is not only a complex technical matter but above all a demanding governance issue. As climate change has all the characteristics of a wicked problem, conventional strategies of governance do not seem to work. However, most conventional governance institutions are poorly equipped to enable, or at least tolerate, innovative strategies. This paper analyses the various strategies used to cope with the wicked problem of climate adaptation across scales, and the institutional conditions that enable or constrain such strategies. For this, it relies on a theoretical framework consisting of five governance capabilities that are considered crucial for coping with wicked problems: reflexivity, resilience, responsiveness, revitalization and rescaling. This framework is used to analyse the governance of adaptation to climate change at three different levels: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its activities to assist adaptation; the European Union and its climate adaptation strategy; and the Netherlands and its Delta Program. The results show that conventional governance strategies are rather absent and that mixtures of reflexive, resilient, responsive, revitalizing and rescaling strategies were visible at all levels, although not equally well developed and important. In contrast to the literature, we found many examples of enabling institutional conditions. The constraining conditions, which were also present, tend to lead more to postponement than to obstruction of decision-making processes.

The international legal framework for the management of the global oceans social-ecological system
Bigagli, E. - \ 2016
Marine Policy 68 (2016). - ISSN 0308-597X - p. 155 - 164.
Ecological resilience - International law - Oceans - Social-ecological systems - UNCLOS

This paper evaluates the international agreements in place for the protection of the environment and the regulation of human activities taking place in world's oceans and seas. 500 multilateral agreements were reviewed against a framework of reference, grounded on the theoretical approaches of Adaptive Management and Transition Management. According to this framework, oceans complex systems management should: (1) consider the global oceans as a Social-Ecological System (SES); (2) aim to achieve or maintain their ecological resilience; and (3) implement iterative, learning-based management strategies, supported by science-based advice to policy and management. The results show that the present international legal framework for the global oceans does not require countries to adopt an adaptive, complex systems approach for global oceans ecological resilience. Instead, this study supports the perspective of a double fragmentation among international agreements. First, global agreements focus on issue-based objectives for determined human activities, ecological components or anthropogenic pressures. Second, regional agreements have a wider scope, but also a varying level of inclusion of ecological resilience considerations. There is the need to foster the inclusion of such an approach into existing and future international agreements and their implementation, including through soft-law, project-based initiatives at global and regional scales.

Interacting effects of change in climate, human population, land use, and water use on biodiversity and ecosystem services
Elmhagen, Bodil ; Destouni, Georgia ; Angerbjörn, Anders ; Velde, Ype van der - \ 2015
Ecology and Society 20 (2015)1. - ISSN 1708-3087
Governance - Historical ecology - Landscape management - Scale mismatch - Social-ecological systems

Human population growth and resource use, mediated by changes in climate, land use, and water use, increasingly impact biodiversity and ecosystem services provision. However, impacts of these drivers on biodiversity and ecosystem services are rarely analyzed simultaneously and remain largely unknown. An emerging question is how science can improve the understanding of change in biodiversity and ecosystem service delivery and of potential feedback mechanisms of adaptive governance. We analyzed past and future change in drivers in south-central Sweden. We used the analysis to identify main research challenges and outline important research tasks. Since the 19th century, our study area has experienced substantial and interlinked changes; a 1.6°C temperature increase, rapid population growth, urbanization, and massive changes in land use and water use. Considerable future changes are also projected until the mid-21st century. However, little is known about the impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services so far, and this in turn hampers future projections of such effects. Therefore, we urge scientists to explore interdisciplinary approaches designed to investigate change in multiple drivers, underlying mechanisms, and interactions over time, including assessment and analysis of matching-scale data from several disciplines. Such a perspective is needed for science to contribute to adaptive governance by constantly improving the understanding of linked change complexities and their impacts.

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