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Science for action at the local landscape scale

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      A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems.

       Elinor Ostrom (2009)
      A major problem worldwide is the potential loss of fisheries, forests, and water resources. Understanding of the processes that lead to improvements in or deterioration of natural resources is limited, because scientific disciplines use different concepts and languages to describe and explain complex social-ecological systems (SESs). Without a common framework to organize findings, isolated knowledge does not cumulate. Until recently, accepted theory has assumed that resource users will never self-organize to maintain their resources and that governments must impose solutions. Research in multiple disciplines, however, has found that some government policies accelerate resource destruction, whereas some resource users have invested their time and energy to achieve sustainability. A general framework is used to identify 10 subsystem variables that affect the likelihood of self-organization in efforts to achieve a sustainable SES.
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        Knowledge systems for sustainable development.

        The challenge of meeting human development needs while protecting the earth's life support systems confronts scientists, technologists, policy makers, and communities from local to global levels. Many believe that science and technology (S&T) must play a more central role in sustainable development, yet little systematic scholarship exists on how to create institutions that effectively harness S&T for sustainability. This study suggests that efforts to mobilize S&T for sustainability are more likely to be effective when they manage boundaries between knowledge and action in ways that simultaneously enhance the salience, credibility, and legitimacy of the information they produce. Effective systems apply a variety of institutional mechanisms that facilitate communication, translation and mediation across boundaries.
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          Complexity of coupled human and natural systems.

          Integrated studies of coupled human and natural systems reveal new and complex patterns and processes not evident when studied by social or natural scientists separately. Synthesis of six case studies from around the world shows that couplings between human and natural systems vary across space, time, and organizational units. They also exhibit nonlinear dynamics with thresholds, reciprocal feedback loops, time lags, resilience, heterogeneity, and surprises. Furthermore, past couplings have legacy effects on present conditions and future possibilities.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Landscape Ecology
            Landscape Ecol
            Springer Nature
            0921-2973
            1572-9761
            October 2013
            August 2013
            : 28
            : 8
            : 1439-1445
            10.1007/s10980-013-9925-6
            © 2013
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