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Rowing social-ecological systems: morals, culture and resilience
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The shift from management and governance of ecosystems to relational complex adaptive social-ecological systems (SES) emphasizes a dynamic and integrated humans-in-nature perspective. Such a shift also needs to investigate how diversity and differences in cultures and morals relate to the existence of SES. The papers of this thesis relate these dimensions to SES resilience theory. Paper I analyzes cultural and landscape ecological aspects of trees and tree planting in Androy, Madagascar. Culturally, planting trees serves as a symbol of renewal, purification, agreement and boundary-making. Ecologically, planting trees contributes to the generation of ecosystem services in an otherwise fragmented landscape. Paper II tests the role of forest patches for generating pollination services to local beans that constitute an important protein staple in Androy. The results indicate a significant effect of insect pollination on bean yields and a strong spatial pattern of locating bean plots closer to forests than expected by chance, improving rural food security. Paper III addresses the adaptive capacity of the indigenous forest management in Androy with regard to religious and climatic drivers of change. Paper IV is concerned with cultural analysis of the robustness of provisioning ecosystem services in Androy and the interdependence of morality, cultural practices and generated ecosystem services. Paper V explores how social-ecological memory (SEM) can be seen both as a source of inertia and path dependence and a source of adaptive capacity for renewal and reorganization in the emerging theory about social-ecological systems. Paper VI analyses the film Avatar and discusses ethical–epistemic obligations of researchers as cross-scale knowledge brokers in emerging forms of global environmental politics. The thesis has interdependencies between the social and the ecological and shown that cultural and moral analyses bring important insights and challenges to resilience thinking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University , 2011. , 71 p.
Keyword [en]
resilience, culture, moral, complex social-ecological systems, southern Madagascar, Planetary Boundaries
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62422ISBN: 978-91-7447-359-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-62422DiVA: diva2:441732
Public defence
2011-10-13, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 5: Submitted. Paper 6: In press.

Available from: 2011-09-22 Created: 2011-09-19 Last updated: 2014-09-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Trees and tree-planting in southern Madagascar: sacredness and remembrance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Trees and tree-planting in southern Madagascar: sacredness and remembrance
2011 (English)In: Greening in the Red Zone : Disaster, Resilience and Community Greening / [ed] Tidball, Keith G. & Krasny, Marianne E., New York: Springer , 2011Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Springer, 2011
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62430 (URN)978-90-481-9946-4 (ISBN)
Available from: 2011-09-19 Created: 2011-09-19 Last updated: 2011-09-21Bibliographically approved
2. The role of sacred forests in pollination of livelihoods crops in southern Madagascar
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of sacred forests in pollination of livelihoods crops in southern Madagascar
(English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62436 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-19 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Adaptive capacity of local indigenous institutions: the case of the taboo forests of southern Madagascar
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adaptive capacity of local indigenous institutions: the case of the taboo forests of southern Madagascar
2011 (English)In: Adapting Institutions: Governance, Complexity and Social-Ecological Resilience / [ed] Emily Boyd & Carl Folke, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 2011Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62429 (URN)978-0-52-189750-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2011-09-19 Created: 2011-09-19 Last updated: 2011-09-21Bibliographically approved
4. A social contract with the ancestors: Culture and ecosystem services in southern Madagascar
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A social contract with the ancestors: Culture and ecosystem services in southern Madagascar
2014 (English)In: Global Environmental Change, ISSN 0959-3780, E-ISSN 1872-9495, Vol. 24, 251-264 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigate the role of culture in sustaining essential ecosystem services in the arid and erratic climate of an agropastoral landscape in southern Madagascar. Our fieldwork and interviews in Ambovombe subprefecture in Androy addressed land use, agropastoralism, livelihood, institutions and their moral basis. Our analysis points to the interdependence of cultural practices and ecosystem services: sacred forests, crop pollination, subsistence farming, cattle economy and societal transition and purification rituals. We posit a social-ancestral contract that works as a moral attractor structuring and sustaining the agropastoral ecosystem services system. The contract between living and nonliving clan members underpins the cultural practices and rituals that regulate the vulnerable agropastoral system. We conclude that the well-being values of the inhabitants of the south of Madagascar depend upon moralities that lend legitimacy and stability to the management of the social-ecological processes that precondition ecosystem services production. Neither ecosystem nor culture delivers ecosystem services to society. Ecosystem services are generated by an interdependent social-ecological system in which knowledge, practice, and beliefs coevolve: culture is a key factor in their generation and persistence. The study suggests these are significant interdependences to consider in dynamic analyses of ecosystem service production.

Keyword
Social-ecological resilience, Cultural ecosystem services, Social attractor, Moral order, Southern Madagascar, Drought, Agropastoralism, Mixed methods
National Category
Environmental Sciences Physical Geography
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103328 (URN)10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.11.003 (DOI)000333506100024 ()
Note

AuthorCount:2;

Available from: 2014-05-12 Created: 2014-05-12 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
5. Social-ecological memories as a source of general and specific resilience
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social-ecological memories as a source of general and specific resilience
2012 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62440 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-19 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
6. Works of doubt and leaps of faith: An Augustinian challenge to Planetary Boundaries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Works of doubt and leaps of faith: An Augustinian challenge to Planetary Boundaries
2012 (English)In: Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, ISSN 1749-4907, E-ISSN 1749-4915, Vol. 6, no 2, 151-175 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses the role held by researchers as providers of science based advice in emerging forms of global environmental politics. The field ‘resilience thinking’ pioneered propositions about the critical role of local, traditional and indigenous knowledge to understand and manage human-nature relations. Recently there have been attempts to address sustainability beyond the local. However, the most significant attempt at a leap to the planetary scale again rendered the diversity of knowledge traditions invisible by devising an epistemic space that only took into account experimental scientific knowledge. Using insights from the scientist Dr. Augustine in Avatar, it is possible to discuss historical and current authority claims in local and planetary science-policy. While there is need to discuss resilience beyond the ‘local’, doing so needs to address moral and epistemological aspects of knowledge and politics that cohere with current understandings of the world as living and complex.

Keyword
Avatar, TEK, cross-scale, environmental politics, scientific advice
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62432 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-21 Created: 2011-09-19 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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