Tag Archives: papers

Ecology and Society’s most ‘typical’ paper

The journal Ecology and Society publishes a lot of work related to resilience and social-ecological systems.  As part of a project I am working on, I did a quick network analysis of co-authorship structure among papers in E&S, and based on this preliminary analysis, the papers below are the most typical of Ecological and Society based on authorship*.

  1. Resilience Management in Social-ecological Systems: a Working Hypothesis for a Participatory Approach Vol 6 Issue: 1:14
  2. A Handful of Heuristics and Some Propositions for Understanding Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems Vol 11 Issue: 1:13
  3. Resilience Thinking: Integrating Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability Vol 15 Issue: 4:20
  4. Shooting the Rapids: Navigating Transitions to Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Systems Vol 11 Issue: 1:18
  5. Water RATs (Resilience, Adaptability, and Transformability) in Lake and Wetland Social-Ecological Systems Vol 11 Issue: 1:16
  6. Drivers, “Slow” Variables, “Fast” Variables, Shocks, and Resilience Vol 17 Issue: 3:30
  7. Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity Vol 14 Issue: 2:32
  8. Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability in Socialecological Systems Vol 9 Issue: 2:5
  9. Resilience and Vulnerability: Complementary or Conflicting Concepts? Vol 15 Issue: 3:11
  10. Resilience: Accounting for the Noncomputable Vol 14 Issue: 1:13
  11. Exploring Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems Through Comparative Studies and Theory Development: Introduction to the Special Issue Vol 11 Issue: 1:12
  12. Assessing Future Ecosystem Services: a Case Study of the Northern Highlands Lake District, Wisconsin Vol 7 Issue: 3:1
  13. Resilience, Adaptability, and Transformability in the Goulburn-Broken Catchment, Australia Vol 14 Issue: 1:12
  14. Fifteen Weddings and a Funeral: Case Studies and Resilience-based Management Vol 11 Issue: 1:21
  15. Scenarios for Ecosystem Services: An Overview Vol 11 Issue: 1:29
  16. Editorial: Special Feature on Scenarios for Ecosystem Services Vol 11 Issue: 2:32
  17. Resilience and Regime Shifts: Assessing Cascading Effects Vol 11 Issue: 1:20
  18. Governance and the Capacity to Manage Resilience in Regional Social-Ecological Systems Vol 11 Issue: 1:19
  19. Toward a Network Perspective of the Study of Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems Vol 11 Issue: 1:15
  20. Transforming Innovation for Sustainability Vol 17 Issue: 2:11

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of these papers are authored by people from the Resilience Alliance and frequently address resilience and social-ecological networks.  However, papers on scenarios, networks, and innovation are also present.

* This is based on a applying eigenvector centrality to the network of papers defined by co-authorship relationships, not content.  So, these papers are those that most link together networks of authors.

Recent papers on ecological resilience

1. Hughes TP, Graham NA, Jackson JB, Mumby PJ, Steneck RS. 2010  Rising to the challenge of sustaining coral reef resilienceTrends in Ecology and Evolution. [epub]

Phase-shifts from one persistent assemblage of species to another have become increasingly commonplace on coral reefs and in many other ecosystems due to escalating human impacts. Coral reef science, monitoring and global assessments have focused mainly on producing detailed descriptions of reef decline, and continue to pay insufficient attention to the underlying processes causing degradation. A more productive way forward is to harness new theoretical insights and empirical information on why some reefs degrade and others do not. Learning how to avoid undesirable phase-shifts, and how to reverse them when they occur, requires an urgent reform of scientific approaches, policies, governance structures and coral reef management.

2. Côté IM, Darling ES, 2010 Rethinking Ecosystem Resilience in the Face of Climate Change. PLoS Biol 8(7): e1000438.

In this Perspective, we will argue that the expectation of increased resilience of natural communities to climate change through the reduction of local stressors may be fundamentally incorrect, and that resilience-focused management may, in fact, result in greater vulnerability to climate impacts. We illustrate our argument using coral reefs as a model. Coral reefs are in an ecological crisis due to climate change and the ever-increasing magnitude of human impacts on these biodiverse habitats [11],[12]. These impacts stem from a multiplicity of local stressors, such as fishing, eutrophication, and sedimentation. It is therefore not surprising that the concept of resilience—to climate change in particular—is perhaps more strongly advocated as an underpinning of management for coral reefs than for any other ecosystem [9],. Marine reserves or no-take areas, the most popular form of spatial management for coral reef conservation, are widely thought to have the potential to increase coral reef resilience [11],[13],[14],[17]. But do they really?

3. Brock, W. A., and S. R. Carpenter. 2010. Interacting regime shifts in ecosystems: implication for early warnings. Ecological Monographs 80:353–367.

Big ecological changes often involve regime shifts in which a critical threshold is crossed. Thresholds are often difficult to measure, and transgressions of thresholds come as surprises. If a critical threshold is approached gradually, however, there are early warnings of the impending regime shift. …  Interacting regime shifts may muffle or magnify variance near critical thresholds. Whether muffling or magnification occurs, and the size of the effect, depend on the product of the feedback between the state variables times the correlation of these variables’ responses to environmental shocks.

4. Dawson, T.P., Rounsevell, M.D.A., Kluvánková-Oravská, T., Chobotová, V. & Stirling, A. 2010. Dynamic properties of complex adaptive ecosystems: implications for the sustainability of service provision. Biodiversity and Conservation. 19(10) 2843-2853.

Predicting environmental change and its impacts on ecosystem goods and services at local to global scales remains a significant challenge for the international scientific community. … Social-Ecological Systems (SES) theory addresses these strongly coupled and complex characteristics of social and ecological systems. It can provide a useful framework for articulating contrasting drivers and pressures on ecosystems and associated service provision, spanning different temporalities and provenances. Here, system vulnerabilities (defined as exposure to threats affecting ability of an SES to cope in delivering relevant functions), can arise from both endogenous and exogenous factors across multiple time-scales. Vulnerabilities may also take contrasting forms, ranging from transient shocks or disruptions, through to chronic or enduring pressures. Recognising these diverse conditions, four distinct dynamic properties emerge (resilience, stability, durability and robustness), under which it is possible to maintain system function and, hence, achieve sustainability.

Mapping the Anthropocene: Anthropegenic Biomes

Humanity is now a geological force reshaping the Earth’s surface, atmosphere, and biogeochemistry. This reality has lead Earth System Scientists to argue that we are living in a new geological era – the Anthropocene.

Recently Navin Ramankutty, a colleague of mine here at McGill, and Erle Ellis, from the University of Maryland, have developed a map of the world the acknowledges that we are in the Anthropocene by identifying the anthropogenic biomes that are currently found in the world.

Anthro biomes in E NA from google maps

anthro biomes legend

They define an anthropogenic biome as:

Anthropogenic biomes describe globally-significant ecological patterns within the terrestrial biosphere caused by sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems, including agriculture, urbanization, forestry and other land uses. Conventional biomes, such as tropical rainforests or grasslands, are based on global vegetation patterns related to climate. Now that humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of ecosystem form, process, and biodiversity, anthropogenic biomes provide a contemporary view of the terrestrial biosphere in its human-altered form. Anthropogenic biomes may also be termed “anthromes” to distinguish them from conventional biome systems, or “human biomes” (a simpler but less precise term).

The maps can be viewed as PDFs, or interactively using Google Maps or Google Earth. Links to these files can be found in the article in their article Anthropogenic biome maps in the Enclyopedia of the Earth.

The McGill website has a a ten-minute interview with Prof. Ramankutty, and both authors wrote a follow up article Conserving Nature in an Anthropogenic Biosphere on Earth Portal, where they write:

If we say that most ecosystems are now anthropogenic, does this devalue the conservation and protection of “Nature”? Have we given those who oppose conservation a new tool to eliminate conservation altogether? Though this was never our intention, it seems to be a potential repercussion of our work.

Here is our defense.

On the one hand, we are convinced, as are many, that it is time to give up on the “protecting fragile nature” approach to conserving a desirable environment. Managing nature in preserves and leaving the rest of the world to its own devices does not and will not achieve our objectives.

It is our hope that in this century we can improve our environmental governance by building a citizen’s “morality of nature” through education and participation, rather than by fear of the consequences. Indeed, there are many indications already that we are getting better at managing the environment, and that the regenerative powers of nature are cleaning our rivers, regrowing our forests, and healing the ozone layer.

We are already in the driver’s seat. If our collective desire leads us to conserve, preserve, and restore “Nature”, we will all be the better off for this. But managing nature as if everything we touch is destroyed just will not get us to where we want to go.

They describe their map in the paper:

Ellis, E. C., and N. Ramankutty. In Press. Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6:XXX. doi:10.1890/070062 . (which is available online before publication).

Society and Environment (ENVR 201) reading list

This semester I am co-teaching the first year course Society and the Environment in the McGill School of Environment. I teach a diverse set of lectures that are mainly focussed on commons, urban ecosystems, and resilience, but also include cost-benefit analysis and ecological futures. My colleagues cover a whack of other topics. Below are the assinged readings for my sections of the course.

Making environmental decisions: Assessing costs & benefits (1)

  • Leung, B., Lodge, D.M., Finnoff, D., Shogren, J.F., Lewis, M, Lamberti, G. 2002. An ounce of prevention or a pound of cure: bioeconomic risk analysis of invasive species. Proceedings: Biological Sciences 269:2407-2413

Managing the Commons (3)

  • Hardin, G. 1968. Tragedy of the commons.. Science, 162(1968): 1243-1248.
  • Feeny, D, et.al. 1990. The Tragedy of the Commons Revisited: Twenty Years Later. Human Ecology. 18:1-19
  • Dietz, Thomas., Elinor Ostrom, Paul C. Stern. 2003. “The Struggle to Govern the Commons.” Science. 302(5652): 1907-1912.

Urban Ecosystems (3)

  • Davis, M.. 2004. Planet of slums. New Left Review 26, March-April.
  • Lee, K. N. 2006. Urban sustainability and the limits of classical environmentalism. Environment and Urbanization; 18(1) 9-22
  • Jannson et al 1999 Linking Freshwater Flows and Ecosystem Services Appropriated by People: The Case of the Baltic Sea Drainage Basin. Ecosystems 2(4) 351-366.
  • Colding, Johan, Jakob Lundberg, and Carl Folke. 2006 Incorporating Green-area User Groups in Urban Ecosystem Management AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment: 35(5) 237–244.

Resilience and Surprise (4)

Ecological Futures (1)

Adaptive invasions

From Conservation magazine’s Journal Watch Online

Revved-up evolution allows invasive species to rampage through new habitat, a study published in Molecular Ecology shows. The seeming ease with which chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha colonized New Zealand in the early part of the twentieth century was a complex combination of ecology and evolution, according to University of Maine biologist Michael Kinnison and colleagues.

Studies of biological invasions have often considered ecology — freedom from predators and/or parasites, lack of competition and so on — but evolution on a short timescale has seldom been seen as a major factor. Kinnison’s neat experimental approach, which involved releasing captive-bred salmon to several NZ river systems, showed that substantial and rapid evolutionary change has taken place among populations with differing local ecological conditions. The ever-worsening threat that invasive species pose to global biodiversity suggests the need to take evolvability very seriously, and these findings raise many questions about how we tackle the problem.

Source: Kinnison MT, Unwin MJ & Quinn TP (2007) Eco-evolutionary vs. habitat contributions to invasion in salmon: experimental evaluation in the wild. Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03495.x

Suggested papers for social-ecological PhD students

From the Natural Resources Management group at Systems Ecology at Stockholm University, which does a lot of research on social-ecological resilience, suggested papers for doctoral students:

  1. Adger W.N. 2000. Social and ecological resilience: are they related? Progress in Human Geography 24(3): 347-364.
  2. Becker, C. D., and E. Ostrom. 1995. Human-Ecology and Resource Sustainability – the Importance of Institutional Diversity. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 26:113-133.
  3. Bengtsson, J., P. Angelstam, T. Elmqvist, U. Emanuelsson, C. Folke, M. Ihse, F. Moberg, and M. Nyström. 2003. Reserves, Resilience and Dynamic Landscapes. Ambio 32:389-396.
  4. Berkes F, Hughes TP, Steneck RS, Wilson J, Bellwood DR, Crona B, Folke C, Gunderson LH, Leslie HM, Norberg J,. Nyström M, Olsson P, Österblom H, Scheffer, M, Worm B. (2006). Globalization, roving bandits and marine resources. Science 311: 1557-1558.
  5. Bodin Ö., Crona B. and Ernstson H. 2006. Social networks in natural resource management: What is there to learn from a structural perspective? Ecology and Society 11(2): r2. [also available at: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss2/resp2/]
  6. Costanza, R., M. Daly, C. Folke, P. Hawken, C. S. Holling, A. J. McMichael, D. Pimentel, and D. Rapport. 2000. Managing our environmental portfolio. Bioscience 50:149-155
  7. CS Holling, and G. K. Meffe. 1996. Command and Control and the Pathology of Natural Resource Management. Conservation Biology 10(2): 328-37
  8. CS Holling. 2001. Understanding the complexity of economic, ecological and social systems. Ecosystems 4: 390–405.
  9. Daily, G. C., T. Soderqvist, S. Aniyar, K. Arrow, P. Dasgupta, P. R. Ehrlich, C. Folke, A. Jansson, B. O. Jansson, N. Kautsky, S. Levin, J. Lubchenco, K. G. Maler, D. Simpson, D. Starrett, D. Tilman, and B. Walker. 2000. Ecology – The value of nature and the nature of value. Science 289:395-396.
  10. de la Torre-Castro, M. (2006). Beyond regulations in fisheries management: the dilemmas of the “beach recorders” Bwana Dikos in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Ecology and Society 11(2): 35. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss2/art35/
  11. Díaz S., Fargione J., Chapin III F.S. and Tilman D. 2006. Biodiversity Loss Threatens Human well-being. Vol 4, issue 8, e277. PLOS Biology open access on-line, www.plosbiology.org
  12. Elmqvist, T., C. Folke, M. Nyström, G. Peterson, J. Bengtsson, B. Walker, and J. Norberg. 2003. Response diversity, ecosystem change, and resilience. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1(9):488-494.
  13. Fischer, J., D. B. Lindenmayer, and A. D. Manning. 2006. Biodiversity, ecosystem function, and resilience: ten guiding principles for commodity production landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 4(2):80-86
  14. Folke, C. 2006. Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social–ecological systems analyses Global Environmental Change 16 (2006) 253–267
  15. Folke, C., S. Carpenter, B. Walker, M. Scheffer, T. Elmqvist, L. Gunderson, and C. S. Holling. 2004. Regime shifts, resilience, and biodiversity in ecosystem management. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 35:557-581.
  16. Goodstein, E. S. Economics and the environment. 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York. pp. 485-488, 495-510
  17. Holling, C. S., L. H. Gunderson and D. Ludwig. 2002. In Quest of a Theory of Adaptive Change. In: Gunderson, L.H. and Holling C. S. (Eds). Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. Island Press, Washington DC.
  18. Holloway, M. 1998. Trade rules: a World Trade Organization decision about sea turtles raises doubts about reconciling economics and the environment. Scientific American. Vol. 279, No. 2, pp 33-35.
  19. Kremen, C. and R. S. Ostfeld. 2005. A call to ecologists: measuring, analyzing, and managing ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Vol. 3, No. 10, pp. 540–548.
  20. Olsson, P., and C. Folke. 2001. Local ecological knowledge and institutional dynamics for ecosystem management: A study of Lake Racken Watershed, Sweden. Ecosystems 4:85-104.
  21. Ostrom, E., J. Burger, C. B. Field, R. B. Norgaard, and D. Policansky. 1999. Sustainability – Revisiting the commons: Local lessons, global challenges. Science 284:278-282.
  22. Peterson G., C.R. Allen, and C.S. Holling. 1998. Ecological resilience, biodiversity, and scale. Ecosystems 1:6-18.
  23. Richard J.T. Klein, Nicholls R.J., and Thomalla F. 2003. Resilience to natural hazards: how useful is the concept? Environmental hazards 5: 35-45.
  24. Scheffer, M., S. Carpenter, J. A. Foley, C. Folke, and B. Walker. 2001. Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems. Nature 413:591-596.
  25. Thomas Dietz, Elinor Ostrom, Paul C. Stern. 2003. The Struggle to Govern the Commons. Science. Vol. 302. no. 5652, pp. 1907 – 1912.

via Maricela de la Torre Castro


Any further suggestions would be great. If you have any additional suggestions of readgins, leave a comment, with the reference and a note explaining why the reading is interesting.

Scholarly networks on resilience, vulnerability and adaptation – update

Marco Janssen has updated his 2006 analysis of scholary networks in global change resilience, vulnerability and adaptation research. For his new paper in Ecology and Society (Janssen 2007) Janssen added more than 1000 new publications to the database, to analyze a total of 3399 publications from between 1967 and 2007. His analysis shows both rapid increase in the publications in the field, as well as increased integration of the three knowledge domains

Janssen mapped the co-author network of the almost 7000 unique authors in the data set. He selected the 16 most productive authors with a minimum of 15 papers. Both sets make up the set of 17 authors who are very productive and/or collaborative. Next, we determined all co-authors for those 17 authors, but kept only the 69 authors who had published a minimum of six papers.

figure 2

The figure above shows the most productive and best connected authors with the strongest co-authorship relations. Circles denote author nodes, and are labeled by the author’s last name and initials. Legend: Node – author; Node area size—# of publications; Node area color—# of unique co-authors.

Also, interestingly, three of the journals that contain the most articles in this field were newly founded in the past decade: Global Environmental Change, Ecology and Society, and Ecosystems. Ecology and Society is the most journal with the most papers in the resilience domain and the 4th greatest number of citation.

Key works that are heavily cited across research communities are:

Burton, I., R. W. Kates, and G. F. White. 1978. The environment as hazard. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Holling, C. S. 1973. Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 4:1–23.