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  • 1.
    Lade, Steven J.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stockholm University, Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita).
    Niiranen, Susa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Hentati-Sundberg, Jonas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Blenckner, Thorsten
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Boonstra, Wiebren J.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Orach, Kirill
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Quaas, Martin F.
    Österblom, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schlüter, Maja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    An empirical model of the Baltic Sea reveals the importance of social dynamics for ecological regime shifts2015In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 112, no 35, p. 11120-11125Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Regime shifts triggered by human activities and environmental changes have led to significant ecological and socioeconomic consequences in marine and terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Ecological processes and feedbacks associated with regime shifts have received considerable attention, but human individual and collective behavior is rarely treated as an integrated component of such shifts. Here, we used generalized modeling to develop a coupled social-ecological model that integrated rich social and ecological data to investigate the role of social dynamics in the 1980s Baltic Sea cod boom and collapse. We showed that psychological, economic, and regulatory aspects of fisher decision making, in addition to ecological interactions, contributed both to the temporary persistence of the cod boom and to its subsequent collapse. These features of the social-ecological system also would have limited the effectiveness of stronger fishery regulations. Our results provide quantitative, empirical evidence that incorporating social dynamics into models of natural resources is critical for understanding how resources can be managed sustainably. We also show that generalized modeling, which is well-suited to collaborative model development and does not require detailed specification of causal relationships between system variables, can help tackle the complexities involved in creating and analyzing social-ecological models.

  • 2.
    Orach, Kirill
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Understanding interest politics in social-ecological systems: Mechanisms behind emergent policy responses to environmental change2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Environmental policymaking is embedded in social-ecological systems (SES) that continuously evolve and change, often in unexpected and non-linear ways. Such challenges call for responsive policymaking that adjusts policy when new information and knowledge about social-ecological change is available. However, policy adaptation can be difficult as policies often emerge as an outcome of multiple interactions between state and non-state actors that pursue their different interests, aim to achieve their individual and shared goals and make sense of information and knowledge. Complexities inherent in SES can be better captured through diverse types of information and knowledge, while adaptation to social-ecological change can occur through innovation and learning. Research has emphasized the contribution of non-state actors or interest groups in realizing such processes in policymaking. However, interest group participation can also be a source of conflict or result in dominance of powerful interests and resistance to learning and policy change. This thesis aims to shed light on the dynamics of the policy process in social-ecological systems to better understand some of the mechanisms that drive its responsiveness to social-ecological change. It focuses on interest groups and their properties as well as the social and ecological conditions of their participation in the policy process to investigate how responsive and sustainable policies can emerge out of the “messy” political struggle. The thesis first explores the case of 2013 EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform to trace the mechanism of interest group influence and identify their contribution to the flow of information from SES. Further it applies the empirical mechanism in an agent-based model to: 1) test the scope conditions of the mechanism; 2) extend it to include interest group responses to change in the managed SES. Paper I of the thesis analyses theoretical frameworks of the policy process originating in public policy research to assess their suitability for capturing political complexity in SES governance research. Paper II looks at the CFP reform case, using process tracing to understand how interest groups have been able to achieve influence on the reform.  Paper III further investigates the case to find the role of interest groups in shaping information flows within the policy process. Paper IV uses empirical findings in Papers II and III, along with frameworks analyzed in Paper I to develop an agent-based model that explores how individual characteristics of political actors in interaction with political conditions and issue characteristics influence the responsiveness of the policy process and result in sustainable outcomes. I find that through interest group participation policies can better respond to change in the managed SES; however structural factors (such as presence of institutional ‘window of opportunity’, issue salience and beliefs of policymakers) can make the response adverse or weaken it. Interest groups also engage in transmitting and interpreting diverse information about policy impacts, social and ecological context of the issue and use framing to convey information that better supports their proposals.

  • 3.
    Orach, Kirill
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Duit, Andreas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    Schlüter, Maja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Sustainability of natural resource governance under interest group competition in policy makingManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Non-state actors play an increasingly important role in environmental policy processes. Lobbying activities of interest groups have often been associated with policy stasis and environmental degradation. Little is known, however, about the causal mechanisms through which competition between diverse interest groups can enhance or reduce the adaptive capacity of a governance system. By combining an empirical study with agent-based modelling we explore competing interest group behavior and its implications for responses of the policy system to perceived changes in a fishery. We find that interest group coalition formation as a response to changes in the resource allows the policy system to better respond to resource decline. This mechanism, however, is highly contingent on the distribution of funding among interest groups, issue salience and characteristics of the political system (beliefs of policymakers). Testing the mechanism of interest group influence on policy change allows us to better understand the conditions under which environmental policymaking involving diverse interests and strong (economic/industry) pressure can avoid resource overexploitation.

  • 4.
    Orach, Kirill
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schlüter, Maja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Uncovering the political dimension of social-ecological systems: Contributions from policy process frameworks2016In: Global Environmental Change, ISSN 0959-3780, E-ISSN 1872-9495, Vol. 40, p. 13-25Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research on the governance of social-ecological systems often emphasizes the need for self-organized, flexible and adaptive arrangements to deal with uncertainty, abrupt change and surprises that are characteristic of social-ecological systems. However, adaptive governance as well as transitions toward alternative forms of governance are embedded in politics and it is often the political processes that determine change and stability in governance systems and policy. This paper analyses five established theoretical frameworks of the policy process originating in political science and public policy research with respect to their potential to enhance understanding of governance and complex policy dynamics in social-ecological systems. The frameworks are found to be divergent in their conceptualization of policy change (focusing on incremental or large-scale, major changes), highlighting different aspects of bounded rationality in their model of individual behavior and focusing their attention on different aspects of the policy process (role of information, attention, beliefs, institutional structure, particular actors, etc.). We discuss the application of these frameworks and their potential contribution, to unravelling the political dimension in adaptive governance and transformations.

  • 5.
    Orach, Kirill
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schlüter, Maja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Österblom, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Tracing a pathway to success: How competing interest groups influenced the 2013 EU Common Fisheries Policy reform2017In: Environmental Science and Policy, ISSN 1462-9011, E-ISSN 1873-6416, Vol. 76, p. 90-102Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Adaptation of environmental policies to often unexpected crises is an important function of sustainable governance arrangements. However the relationship between environmental change and policy is complicated. Much research has focused on understanding institutional dynamics or the role of specific participants in the policy process. This paper draws attention to interest groups and the mechanism through which they influence policy change. Existing research offers conflicting evidence in regards to the different ways in which interest groups may affect change. This paper provides an in-depth study of the 2013 European Union Common Fisheries Policy reform a policy change characterized by active interest group participation. It traces the activity of interest group coalitions to understand how they achieved influence under a changing policy context. The study involves interviews with interest group representatives, policy experts and decision-makers, document analysis of interest group statements and EU legislative documents. Findings identify the important role of coalition building and informational lobbying for environmental interest group success in exploiting favorable sociopolitical conditions and influencing reform outcomes. An insight on interest group influence and its conditions contributes to our understanding of the complex dynamics of the environmental policy process as well as its implications for policy adaptation to environmental change.

  • 6.
    Orach, Kirill
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Österblom, Henrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schlüter, Maja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Interests Influencing Information? Analyzing interest group contribution to information flows in EU Common Fisheries PolicyManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Information and knowledge is important for sustainably managing natural resources. Uncertainty and lack of information can lead to inability to identify and manage complex social-ecological feedbacks and slow change. However scientific information and knowledge, even when present, does not always find its way to policy and when it does – may fail to make any impact. Public policy researchers often stress the ever-present ambiguity, time constraints, lack of access and issue framing as some of the reasons why policy-relevant information may be misinterpreted or ignored. Resilience research recognizes the importance of participation of the broad diversity of stakeholders in the policy process for allowing a broader diversity of knowledge to influence decision-making and better detect and respond to environmental change. Organizing to influence policy, stakeholders may form interest groups that often engage in supplying information to policymakers as one of the ways to influence policy outcomes. Although interest groups undoubtedly contribute to the information flow within the policy process, it is unclear whether they contribute to the diversity of available information or are able to strengthen the link between scientific information and decision-making. Previous empirical research shows that agencies with own capacity to generate own information may ignore organized interests, while the quality and diversity of information provided by interest groups may vary significantly. This paper looks at the case of 2013 EU Common Fisheries Policy reform in order to find how interest group actors have contributed to the flow of issue-relevant information supplied to policymakers during the critical stages of the reform. It analyses interest group position papers, letters and briefings as well as interviews with interest group representatives and policymakers in order to assess the type of information supplied, its source, framing and recipients, aiming to get a broader picture of interest groups’ contribution. The paper finds that interest groups have been using informational lobbying as one of their main strategies during the reform process. Most interest groups have frequently used scientific information, already available to policymakers, in order to support their own framing of the issue.

  • 7.
    Schlüter, Maja
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Baeza, Andres
    Dressler, Gunnar
    Frank, Karin
    Groeneveld, Jürgen
    Jager, Wander
    Janssen, Marco A.
    McAllister, Ryan R. J.
    Müller, Birgit
    Orach, Kirill
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schwarz, Nina
    Wijermans, Nanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    A framework for mapping and comparing behavioural theories in models of social-ecological systems2017In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 131, p. 21-35Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Formal models are commonly used in natural resource management (NRM) to study human-environment interactions and inform policy making. In the majority of applications, human behaviour is represented by the rational actor model despite growing empirical evidence of its shortcomings in NRM contexts. While the importance of accounting for the complexity of human behaviour is increasingly recognized, its integration into formal models remains a major challenge. The challenges are multiple: i) there exist many theories scattered across the social sciences, ii) most theories cover only a certain aspect of decision-making, iii) they vary in their degree of formalization, iv) causal mechanisms are often not specified. We provide a framework- MoHuB (Modelling Human Behavior) - to facilitate a broader inclusion of theories on human decision-making in formal NRM models. It serves as a tool and common language to describe, compare and communicate alternative theories. In doing so, we not only enhance understanding of commonalities and differences between theories, but take a first step towards tackling the challenges mentioned above. This approach may enable modellers to find and formalize relevant theories, and be more explicit and inclusive about theories of human decision making in the analysis of social ecological systems.

  • 8.
    Schlüter, Maja
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Haider, L. Jamila
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Lade, Steven J.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Australian National University, Australia.
    Lindkvist, Emilie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Martin, Romina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Orach, Kirill
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Wijermans, Nanda
    Univ Stockholm, Stockholm Resilience Ctr, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Capturing emergent phenomena in social-ecological systems: an analytical framework2019In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 24, no 3, article id 11Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social-ecological systems (SES) are complex adaptive systems. Social-ecological system phenomena, such as regime shifts, transformations, or traps, emerge from interactions among and between human and nonhuman entities within and across scales. Analyses of SES phenomena thus require approaches that can account for (1) the intertwinedness of social and ecological processes and (2) the ways they jointly give rise to emergent social-ecological patterns, structures, and dynamics that feedback on the entities and processes that generated them. We have developed a framework of linked action situations (AS) as a tool to capture those interactions that are hypothesized to have jointly and dynamically generated a social-ecological phenomenon of interest. The framework extends the concept of an action situation to provide a conceptualization of SES that focusses on social-ecological interactions and their links across levels. The aim of our SE-AS (social-ecological action situations) framework is to support a process of developing hypotheses about configurations of ASs that may explain an emergent social-ecological phenomenon. We suggest six social-ecological ASs along with social and ecological action situations that can commonly be found in natural resource or ecosystem management contexts. We test the ability of the framework to structure an analysis of processes of emergence by applying it to different case studies of regime shifts, traps, and sustainable resource use. The framework goes beyond existing frameworks and approaches, such as the SES framework or causal loop diagrams, by establishing a way of analyzing SES that focuses on the interplay of social-ecological interactions with the emergent outcomes they produce. We conclude by discussing the added value of the framework and discussing the different purposes it can serve: from supporting the development of theories of the emergence of social-ecological phenomena, enhancing transparency of SES understandings to serving as a boundary object for interdisciplinary knowledge integration.

  • 9.
    Schlüter, Maja
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Orach, Kirill
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Lindkvist, Emilie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Martin, Romina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Wijermans, Nanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Bodin, Örjan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Boonstra, Wiebren J.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Toward a methodology for explaining and theorizing about social-ecological phenomena2019In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 39, p. 44-53Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Explanations that account for complex causation, emergence, and social-ecological interdependence are necessary for building theories of social-ecological phenomena. Social-ecological systems (SES) research has accumulated rich empirical understanding of SES; however, integration of this knowledge toward contextualized generalizations, or middle-range theories, remains challenging. We discuss the potential of an iterative and collaborative process that combines generalizing from case studies with agent-based modelling as an abductive methodology to successively build and test explanations rooted in complexity thinking. Collaboration between empirical researchers, theoreticians, practitioners, and modellers is imperative to accommodate this process, which can be seen as a first step toward building middle-range theories.

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