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Putting the 'E' in SES: Unpacking the Ecology in the Ostrom Social-Ecological System Framework

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Vogt, Jessica M.; Epstein, Graham B.; Mincey, Sarah; Fischer, Burnell C.; McCord, Paul
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 20
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9744
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Region: North America
Subject(s): social-ecological systems--frameworks
Abstract: "The Ostrom social-ecological system (SES) framework offers an interdisciplinary tool for studies of linked human-natural systems. However, its origin in the social sciences belies the effectiveness of its interdisciplinary ambitions and undermines its ability to cope with ecological complexity. To narrow the gap between inherently dynamic ecological systems and the SES framework, we need to explicitly recognize that SES outcomes are coproduced by social systems in which choices are made, as well as an ecological system with a diverse assortment of dynamic natural processes that mediate the effect of those choices. We illustrate the need for more explicit incorporation of ecological attributes into the SES framework by presenting a case study of a community-managed forest in Indiana, USA. A preliminary set of ecological attributes are also proposed for inclusion in the SES framework with the aim of spurring interest in further development of a truly interdisciplinary framework for the study of SESs."

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