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The problem of fit in social-ecological systems: Detecting spatial mismatches between ecological 
connectivity and land management in an urban region
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5796-7728
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The problem of institutional fit in social-ecological systems has been empirically documented and conceptually discussed for decades, yet there is a shortage of approaches to systematically and quantitatively examine the level of fit.  Here we address this gap focusing on spatial fit in an urban and peri-urban regional landscape. Such landscapes typically exhibit significant fragmentation of remnant habitats, which can limit critical species dispersal. This may have detrimental effects on species persistence and ecosystem functioning, if land use is planned without consideration of the spatial patterns of fragmentation. Managing habitat fragmentation is particularly challenging when the scale of fragmentation reach beyond the control of single managers, thereby requiring different actors to coordinate their activities to address the problem at the appropriate scale.We present a research approach that maps patterns of collaborations between actors who manage different parts of a landscape, and then relates these patterns to potential dispersal patterns. We apply our approach to evaluate the fit between a collaborative wetland-management network comprising all 26 municipalities in the Stockholm County in Sweden, with an ecologically defined network of dispersed but ecologically interconnected wetlands. Many wetlands in this landscape are either intersected by the boundary between two or more municipalities, or located close to such boundaries, which implies a degree of ecological interconnectedness and a need for inter-municipal coordination related to wetland management across boundaries. We first estimate the level of ecological connectivity between wetlands in neighboring municipalities, and then use this estimate to elaborate the level of social-ecological fit vis-à-vis inter-municipal collaboration. We find that the level of fit is generally weak. Also, we identify critical misalignments of ecological connectivity and inter-municipal collaboration, respectively, as well as collaborations that represent an adequate alignment. These findings inform on where to most effectively allocate limited resources of collaborative capacity to enhance the level of social-ecological fit.  Our approach and results are graphically illustrated using maps, which facilitates the potential application of this method in land-use planning practice.

Keyword [en]
Connectivity; graph theory; Institutional fit; Landscape; Network; Planning; Scale mismatch; Spatial mismatch; Stockholm; Urban; Wetland
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97615OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97615DiVA: diva2:679579
Available from: 2013-12-16 Created: 2013-12-16 Last updated: 2013-12-16
In thesis
1. Spatial complexity and fit between ecology and management: Making sense of patterns in fragmented landscapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial complexity and fit between ecology and management: Making sense of patterns in fragmented landscapes
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Avoiding the negative effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity is especially challenging when also the management institutions are spatially and administratively distributed. This doctoral thesis introduces five case studies that investigate ecological, social and social-ecological relations in fragmented landscapes. I present new approaches in which research and governance can detect and manage mismatches between landscape ecology and planning. The case studies include urban and forested landscapes where an intense land-use is limiting the connectivity, i.e., the potential for many species to disperse between the remaining patches of habitat. Graph-theoretic (network) models are applied to map connectivity patterns and to estimate the outcome for dispersing species at the patch level and for the whole study system. In particular, the network models are applied to evaluate the spatial complexity and the potential mismatches between ecological connectivity and geographically distributed management institutions like protected areas and municipalities. Interviews with municipal ecologists complement the spatial analysis; revealing some problems and ways forward regarding the communication and integration of ecological knowledge within local spatial-planning agencies. The results also show that network models are useful to identify and communicate critical ecological and social-ecological patterns that call for management attention. I suggest some developments of network models as to include interactions between species and across governance levels. Finally, I conclude that more effort is needed for network models to materialize into ecological learning and transformation in management processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2013. 30 p.
Keyword
Connectivity; Conservation; Dispersal; Ecological knowledge; Ecology; Forest; Fragmentation; Graph theory; Institutional fit; Landscape; Management; Metapopulation; Municipal ecologist; Network; Planning; Protected area; Scale mismatch; Social-Ecological; Urban; Wetland
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97618 (URN)978-91-7447-834-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-01-21, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript. Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-12-29 Created: 2013-12-16 Last updated: 2014-11-07Bibliographically approved

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