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Enhancing the Ostrom social-ecological system framework through formalization
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2014 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 19, no 3, 51- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Frameworks play an important role in analyzing social-ecological systems (SESs) because they provide shared concepts and variables that enable comparison between and accumulation of knowledge across multiple cases. One prominent SES framework focusing on local resource use has been developed by Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues. This framework is an extensive multi-tier collection of concepts and variables that have demonstrated relevance for explaining outcomes in a large number of case studies in the context of fishery, water, and forestry common-pool resources. The further development of this framework has raised a number of issues related to the formal relationships between the large number of concepts and variables involved. In particular, issues related to criteria for ordering the concepts into tiers, adding new concepts, defining outcomes metrics, and representing dynamics in the framework have been identified. We address these issues by applying methods from research fields that study formal relationships between concepts such as domain-specific languages, knowledge representation, and software engineering. We find that SES frameworks could include the following seven formal components: variables, concepts, attribution relationships, subsumption relationships, process relationships, aggregation relationships, and evaluation metrics. Applying these components to the Ostrom framework and a case study of recreational fishery, we find that they provide clear criteria for structuring concepts into tiers, defining outcome metrics, and representing dynamics. The components identified are generic, and the insights gained from this exercise may also be beneficial for the development of other SES frameworks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 19, no 3, 51- p.
Keyword [en]
formalization, framework, ontology, SES, social-ecological system, taxonomy
National Category
Biological Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109588DOI: 10.5751/ES-06475-190351ISI: 000343247200007OAI: diva2:766314


Available from: 2014-11-26 Created: 2014-11-24 Last updated: 2014-11-26Bibliographically approved

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Schlüter, Maja
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