Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New PECS Webinar on Adaptive Water Governance


Hi All!

I wanted to share this recording of a recent webinar by Micaela Trimble on adaptive water governance in Latin America.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title: Learning from water crises in South America: towards adaptive water governance?

Abstract: Similar to the whole world, South America faces numerous water-related crises and challenges (e.g. water quantity and quality scarcity) due to climate change, land use, governance systems, and other such factors. Based on the GovernAgua research project, this webinar focuses on adaptive water governance in contexts of crisis in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The objective is to analyse the recent water crises affecting drinking water supply in three watersheds—turbidity in the Chubut river (Patagonia, Argentina) in 2017, drought in the Piracicaba-Capivari-Jundiaí river basins (São Paulo, Brazil) in 2014-2015, and algal blooms in the Laguna del Sauce lake (Maldonado, Uruguay) in 2015. The role of Basin committees (involving government and nongovernment actors) in their response to water crises is also analyzed. The methods used included semi-structured interviews, virtual workshops, participant observation, and document analysis. The findings show that the consequences of the crises were diverse, including enhanced communication among actors at multiple levels (Argentinian and Uruguayan cases), incorporation of climate components in the basin management plan (Brazilian case), and emergence of social mistrust regarding the quality of drinking water (Uruguayan case). In addition, limitations faced by Basin committees in addressing water-related crises were identified.

Bio: 

Micaela Trimble holds a Doctoral degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from the University of Manitoba (Canada). She was a postdoctoral fellow of the Centre for Marine Studies – Federal University of Parana (Brazil), and at the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre – Brock University (Canada). She is currently an Associate at the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS), in Uruguay, where she is PI of two research projects on water governance. She is also a member of the National System of Researchers of Uruguay. Her areas of expertise include public participation, adaptive governance, and adaptive co-management of social-ecological systems, such as small-scale fisheries and watersheds.


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

New PECS webinar on lab experimentation and cooperation


Hi All!

I wanted to share this recording of a recent webinar by Astrid Dannenberg on lab experimentation and cooperation.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title: Cooperation and institution formation in the lab

Abstract: This lecture will summarize what we have learned about cooperation and institutions formation through running lab experiments. Specifically, we will talk about people’s abilities to cooperate and form institutions to solve cooperation problems. Lab experiment are somewhat artificial, but they have the advantage of eliciting real (non-hypothetical) decisions under highly controlled conditions, allowing researchers to identify causal effects in a clean way. The results of this literature show that standard economics theory, based on rational and self-interested actors, often is too pessimistic when it comes to human cooperation, but sometimes is too optimistic when it comes to choosing the best institution.

Bio: Astrid Dannenberg is Professor of Environmental and Behavioral Economics at the University of Kassel, Germany. Her research focuses on human decision making, the drivers and barriers of cooperation, and how institutions can be designed to promote cooperation. Astrid received her M.Sc. in economics at the University of Mannheim and her PhD at the Otto-von-Guericke-University of Magdeburg. She previously was a Research Fellow at the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim, the University of Gothenburg, and Columbia University in New York City.


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

New Webinar on Geospatial Analysis and Environmental Governance

Hi All!

I wanted to share this recording of a webinar by Tom Evans on geospatial analysis and environmental social science.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title: Application of Geospatial Analysis to Investigate Community-Level Water Governance in Kenya

Bio: Tom Evans is a professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment at the University of Arizona (USA). He investigates climate impacts and adaptation processes in smallholder agroecosystems as related to food and water security. Recent projects have investigated the spatial and temporal characteristics of drought events in Zambia and Kenya and the mechanisms utilized by farmers in rainfed and irrigated systems to mitigate those impacts. This work involves investigation of household level decision-making dynamics, institutional analysis/environmental governance, and integration of social-environmental data. Newer work is investigating the teleconnections between rural food production and urban food security through analysis of urban food systems. 


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

Webinar on Collective Action in China

Hi All!

I wanted to share this recording of a webinar by Eduardo Araral on quantitative analysis and vulnerability assessments in environmental social science.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title: The effects of migration on collective action in the commons: Evidence from rural China

Abstract: Over the past three decades, scholars have studied the effects of more than three dozen factors on collective action in the commons but little is known about the effects of rural to urban migration. We examine this question with the case of China, which has the world’s most extensive levels of rural to urban migration. Using OLS, Logit and Probit models and data from a survey of 1,780 households from 18 provinces, we find that migration has a statistically significant adverse effect on collective irrigation controlling for a large number of theoretically relevant variables. The effects of migration on collective action in the commons are possibly mediated by a number of factors frequently identified in the literature, including leadership, social capital, sense of community, economic heterogeneity, and dependence on resources. We speculate that massive out migration partly explains the significant drop in the use of collective canal irrigation and exacerbated the significant increase in groundwater irrigation since the start of reforms in 1980s. These findings have important policy implications for commons governance in China given that massive rural to urban migration will continue in the next decade. Because of the increasing rural to urban migration worldwide especially in developing countries, the findings could also partly explain the deteriorating state of rural village infrastructure, natural common pool resources and ecological systems in many developing countries.

Bio: Ed is a practitioner and academic with 30 years of experience in academia, government, consulting and executive education for governments, corporations and donors in Asia. He holds a PhD Degree in Public Policy from Indiana University-Bloomington on a Fulbright PhD Scholarship with Elinor Ostrom (2009 Nobel Laureate in Economics) as his supervisor.

He specializes in the study of collective action for public goods and the commons. He has 70 papers in journals, books and working papers on foreign aid, infrastructure PPP and regulation, water governance, supply and sanitation, irrigation, telecommunications, COVID-19, housing, urban governance, land use policy, climate change and adaptation, digital nudging, cloud computing, smart cities, policy reform, corruption, bureaucracy, civil service reform and regional cooperation. He has published in policy, development and governance journals including World Development, Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Governance, Policy Science, Policy and Society, Environmental Science and Policy, Land Use Policy, Telecommunications Policy, Water Policy, Water Resources Research, Cities, Geoforum, Human Ecology, International Journal of the Commons and Journal of Rural Studies. He has also presented in more than 50 international conferences.

His awards and recognitions include fellowships from the research centers of 3 Nobel Laureates in Economics (Coase, Ostrom, Stigler); the 2013 Ostrom Prize for the Governance of the Commons, a Fulbright PhD award and the Pamana ng Lahi Presidential Award for Outstanding Overseas Filipinos. His work has been cited by the President of the National University of Singapore as an example of research with both academic and practical significance.

As a practitioner, Ed has a large and active portfolio of government advisory, consultancy, executive education and media engagement. He served as adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Central Bank Governor and Chairman of the Civil Service and Anti-Corruption Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan. He has also advised senior government officials from Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, UAE, Armenia, Uzbekistan, among others. He has consulted for the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, UNDP, Microsoft, Amazon, General Electric, local governments and NGOs. He has lectured in more than 230 Executive Education Programs for more than 5,000 participants – Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Directors, City Mayors, NGO leaders, CEOs of multinationals and ranking military officers – from more than 50 countries throughout Asia, Russia and Africa. He has been interviewed / quoted at least 220 times in the media including BBC, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, China Daily, Al Jazeera, Straits Times, Channel News Asia, Insight, South China Morning Post, Washington Post, Voice of America, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, among others.


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

New webinar on quantitative analysis and vulnerability assessments

Hi All!

I wanted to share the recording of a webinar by J.T. Erbaugh on quantitative analysis and vulnerability assessments in environmental social science.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title: Local vulnerability to climate change in Indonesia: Using hierarchical clustering to scale-up vulnerability profiles

Abstract: Climate vulnerability is comprised of a community’s exposure, sensitivity, and ability to adapt to future climate hazards. Measurements of climate vulnerability often collapse these distinct yet interrelated components into a single index. Though indices provide a method for comparing vulnerability, they often depend on arbitrary cut-off points, and they do not provide sufficient information to guide communities or governments in the design of local adaptation to climate change (LACC). In contrast, vulnerability profiles provide information on the magnitude and combination of climate exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. To date, vulnerability profiles have not been scalable, and thus cannot provide regional information required for coordinating local investment in climate-smart development or assisting policymakers in addressing specific climate vulnerabilities. In this research, use hierarchical agglomerative clustering to generate regional vulnerability profiles across 80,736 Indonesian villages. Within six sub-regions across Indonesia, we find 61 vulnerability clusters that identify regional vulnerability according to predicted climate, land-cover change, population trends, and village-level development variables. Our initial consultations with village-leaders have thus far validated cluster assignments. Understanding how villages and regions are vulnerable to climate change, rather than focusing solely on the level of vulnerability they face, promises to better direct climate funding and support local adaptations to climate change.

Bio: James (J.T.) Erbaugh is a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at Dartmouth College. He draws upon political theory, political ecology, and methods in causal inference to conduct research on environmental policy and governance. He specializes in the study of decentralized forest management, forest restoration and its contribution to local livelihoods, and local adaptations to climate change. His research has been published in Nature Ecology & EvolutionEnvironmental Research LettersWorld Development, and Forest Policy and Economics, among other outlets. 


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

New webinar on qualitative meta-analyses in environmental social sciences

Hi All!

I wanted to share the recording of a webinar by Michael Cox and Sergio Villamayor-Tomas on qualitative meta-analyses in environmental social science.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title:  Meta-analyses and case studies in the social-environmental sciences

Abstract:

In the last 10 years, qualitative meta-analyses (QMA) have gained momentum in the environmental social sciences. These are motivated by the abundance of single case studies in the field, which by themselves don’t produce generalizable knowledge. This situation under-leverages the knowledge of individual researchers for collective learning, and hinders knowledge accumulation . QMA can fill this gap by coding important features of case studies to facilitate analytical comparisons between them. Conditions and resources to carry meta-analyses have notably improved in recent years due to increasing internet availability, open access publications, and big data management techniques. This presentation will cover the basic protocols for implementing a QMA, using examples from research on community-based natural resource management and socio-ecological systems. It will also discuss the connection between QMA and newly proposed protocols for conducting and reporting the case studies themselves.

Bios:

Michael Cox is a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College. He is an environmental social scientist who studies community-based natural resource management as well as path dependence and technological transitions. He has conducted empirical fieldwork-based analyses of irrigation systems in the Southwest United States, Peru and Kenya. His current empirical work is focused on community-based fisheries and rice farming systems in the Dominican Republic, as well as collaborative watershed management in South Africa. For the past several years he has led a synthetic project on social-ecological governance, the details of which can be found at http://sesmad.dartmouth.edu/. More recently he has been developing the Environmental Social Science Network with Stefan Partelow, with the two co-hosting the Finding Sustainability Podcast (https://essnetwork.net/podcast/) along with Courtney Hammond-Wagner.

Sergio Villamayor-Tomas is currently Ramon y Cajal Research Fellow at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB), at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is also affiliated with the Ostrom´s Workshop (Indiana University) and the Berlin Workshop in Institutional Analysis of Socio-Ecological Systems (WINS).  His research areas are climate change adaptation, community-based natural resource management, and polycentric governance. Specific topics include adaptation to droughts and other disturbances in the irrigation sector, bottom-up management solutions to the water-energy-food nexus, transboundary river management, and the interaction of social movements and commons management. He has carried fieldwork research in Spain, Colombia, Mexico, and Germany with grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the Canadian Social Science Research Council (SSHRC), the Latin-American Association of Environmental Economists (LACEEP), the BiodivERsA/FACCE-JPI network and the Government of Balearic Islands, among others.


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

New Publication on Collaboration to Improve Environmental Outcomes

The PECS working group on Collaborative Governance has a new publication out that explores how to study the effects of context on collaboration (link here and citation at bottom of post).  Working with researchers from a dozen countries around the globe, we have been analyzing how commonly outlined “success factors” to achieve improved outcomes to environmental dilemmas are mediated by context.

We wanted to see the differences between:

  • grassroots (bottom-up) and government mandated (top-down) collaborations,
  • well-funded projects and those boot-strapping it,
  • projects in a developing context in contrast to a more developed locale,
  • and many others.

We developed a straightforward Context-Mechanism-Outcome (CMO) framework as shown below with an example:

figure1

Figure 1 in the published manuscript

Our manuscript came from struggling with shortcomings in the research that, in aggregate, often focused on mechanisms and outcomes without discussing the importance of context.  Meta-analyses and other studies often assess Ostrom’s Design Principles and their effects on environmental outcomes or the importance of social learning or leadership (or…) on collaborative goals.  However, many neglect to discuss the importance of context.  Or rather, they mention the importance of context and then ignore it in the analyses.  In the same way that neoclassical macroeconomic analyses often outline a series of unrealistic assumptions (rational actors, perfect information, etc) and then proceed with the analysis and findings without returning to these assumptions to see the actual validity of the findings, we find many of these studies to be interesting but not satiating.  Similarly, we see the importance of context often showing up in case studies of collaboration with little effort to generalize or broaden the findings beyond the idiosyncratic situation of case under study.

This paper is only a first step in our research program.  We have another paper under review that builds on this framework to conduct comparative case analyses across four cases. Another in the works uses a recently completed codebook based upon the framework in this paper to use Qualitative Comparative Analysis across a dozen cases to further elucidate the mediation of contextual variables in collaborative environmental governance.  We hope that as we learn more and study a wider variety of cases, we can contribute to our understanding of collaborations and improve them in practice.

Cockburn, J., M. Schoon, G. Cundill, C. Robinson, J. A. Aburto, S. M. Alexander, J. A. Baggio, C. Barnaud, M. Chapman, M. Garcia Llorente, G. A. García-López, R. Hill, C. Ifejika Speranza, J. Lee, C. L. Meek, E. Rosenberg, L. Schultz and G. Thondhlana. 2020. Understanding the context of multifaceted collaborations for social-ecological sustainability: a methodology for cross-case analysis. Ecology and Society 25 (3):7. [online] URL: https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol25/iss3/art7/

New webinar on gender and power in collaborative environmental governance

Hi All!

I wanted to share the recording of a webinar by Florian Clement that builds on last month’s webinar on power and political ecology.  This webinar adds gender to power analysis in environmental governance.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title:  Politicising gender analysis and gendering power analysis in environmental social science

Abstract:  Until a few years ago, I did not consider gender as an analytical concept of major importance in environmental governance research. When I moved to South Asia, the gender inequalities made a deep impression on me, but it still took me a few years before understanding what a feminist perspective could bring to my own research, both from a scientific and praxis perspective. In this talk, I reflect on this personal and scientific route, drawing on my personal experience as a western female researcher and on the research I conducted on women’s empowerment and water development interventions in Nepal.

First, I consider how gender analysis has lost most of its political and critical feminist gist while being mainstreamed in environment and development policies and practices. Then I explain how a critical feminist perspective, rooted in feminist political ecology, has both furthered my own analysis of power in human-environment interactions and supported a better consideration of the social justice implications of my work. To conclude, I see politicising gender analysis and gendering power analysis in environmental social science as closely interlinked and mutually beneficial.

Bio:  Floriane Clement currently works at the research lab DYNAFOR, for the National Research Institute on Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE). Her research has focused on agricultural and environmental governance, with a particular interest in understanding what creates gaps between policy intentions and outcomes. She has been conducting multi-level analyses, drawing on institutional analysis, discourse analysis and feminist studies. Theoretically, she has been exploring spaces of dialogue and tensions among institutional analysis, commons studies and (feminist) political ecology.

Before joining DYNAFOR in 2018, she conducted research on forest and land policies in Vietnam, watershed policies in India and water and gender development programmes in Nepal. Her research currently focuses on the implementation of agroecological and agrienvironmental public policies. She mostly draws on qualitative methods but has also used mixed research methods in collaboration with economists and has engaged in participatory action research, combining participatory video with deliberative policy forums.


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

New Webinar on Collaboration and Political Ecology

Hi All!

I wanted to share the recording of a webinar by Gustavo Garcia-Lopez on collaboration, power, and political ecology.  A link to the recording is available here.

Title: Within, against and beyond the state: Political ecologies of collaborative governance of protected areas in Puerto Rico

Abstract:  In this presentation, I discuss some central elements of a political ecology of collaborative governance in the context of the Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico. I use the concept of “within against and beyond the state” to understand community initiatives as part of have positioned themselves in collaborative governance, as part of broader historical movements against colonial and neoliberal patterns of development, and in the attempt to create grassroots alternatives that integrate conservation, eco-development and social justice.

Bio: Gustavo is an engaged scholar from Puerto Rico with a transdisciplinary social-environmental sciences training, building on institutional analysis, environmental policy and planning, and political ecology approaches. His research and practice centers on issues related to grassroots collective action initiatives that seek to advance transformations towards more just and sustainable worlds. His work has been geographically focused in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and most recently in Portugal and Spain, though he also engages in global and transnational comparative analyses. He is currently Assistant Researcher at the Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra (funded by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation- FCT under the Individual Scientific Stimulus Program). He also holds the 2019-2021 Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. Between 2015-2019, he was Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Planning at the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras (currently on leave). Previous to that, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow (Experienced Researcher) in the European Network of Political Ecology, a European Commission-funded Marie Curie International Training Network (MSCA-ITN). He holds a PhD in Public Policy and Political Science from Indiana University-Bloomington (with concentrations in Environmental Policy and Institutional Analysis), a Masters in Environmental Policy from Cambridge University (UK), and a Bachelor in Environmental Sciences and Geography from the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras. He is engaged in various collaborative research-action networks and civil society initiatives related to community-based initiatives for sustainability and environmental justice. He is a member of the Climate Justice Network (https://www.climatejusticenetwork.org/), an international collaboration between US and Global South scholars, practitioners and activists on climate justice research and education; and of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society’s (PECS) Collaborative Governance Working Group (https://pecs-science.org/collaborative-governance-and-management/), which developed comparative research with the aim of understanding and strengthening collaborative ecosystem governance. He is a member of the governing board of JunteGente (juntegente.org), a space of encounters of grassroots movements against disaster capitalism and for another Puerto Rico possible in the aftermath of hurricane Maria; and of Emerge Puerto Rico, an initiative of community-based climate change education for youth-led adaptability and action. And he is co-founding member of the editorial collective of the Undisciplined Environments political ecology blog (undisciplinedenvironments.org).

 


This is the latest webinar on methodological approaches to studying collaborative governance and management of social-ecological systems as part of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) working group on collaborative governance.

New Publication on Variables in Social-Ecological Systems

First, a word of warning.  This post will not be referring or commenting on COVID, BLM, the economic crisis, Donald Trump, climate change or any of the other enormous challenges confronting both the USA and the globe at present.  It’s just an update on a research publication.

The publication is entitled “From concepts to comparisons: a resource for diagnosis and measurement in social-ecological systems”, and the full reference and link to the DOI can be found at the end of this post.

Building on years of work on a meta-analysis of social-ecological systems (through the Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database known as SESMAD), this paper elucidates on the findings of this research and looks at the importance of consistency in assessing and analyzing pertinent variables in social-ecological systems.

As an example of how important this is, an example that I often use with my students is about policing.  Damn…I’m getting into one of the topics above.  If the variable of concern is how do we assess good policing, what should we measure?  Crime rates?  Well, those are influenced by many things, including level of economic growth, but the police don’t control that.  What about arrest rates?  Does a high arrest rate mean that the police are doing a good job (getting all the bad guys) or a bad job (harassing many people for trivial reasons)?  We can envision all types of ways that we can influence these numbers without any real measure of the effectiveness of the police force.  I thought about this every time I drove through some of the small towns near where I grew up.  If it was the end of the month, the town cop would be out to catch people speeding to make sure he met his monthly quota.  I’m not sure that has anything to do with good policing.  What about response rates and times?  What about levels of trust in their communities and neighborhoods?  And the list goes on and on.  I’m not a criminal justice scholar, so I don’t want to comment more than this.  Rather, we can all think through this example as to the importance of being very clear about what and how we are measuring concepts that we find important in our research.

Our paper and the research program, more broadly, identifies key variables for understanding social-ecological systems by drawing on several of the core theories in the field and identifying how variables are connected in these theories.  This paper then sets out to provide clear, repeatable mechanisms for measuring and comparing these variables across cases.  Enjoy!

Citation:

Cox, Michael, Natalie Ban, Graham Epstein, Louisa Evans, Forrest Fleischman, Mateja Nenadovic, Gustavo García-López, Frank van Laerhoven, Chanda Meek, Irene Perez Ibarra, Michael Schoon, and Sergio Villamayor-Tomas. 2020. “From concepts to comparisons: a resource for diagnosis and measurement in social-ecological systems”, Environmental Science and Policy 107: 211-216. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2020.02.009