Developing conservation targets in social-ecological systems

| November 20, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Fishing boats off the coast of Tanzania | Photo by Erika Gavenus

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Media Type: Article - Recent

Year of Publication: 2015

Publication City: Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Publisher: Resilience Alliance

Author(s): Phillip S Levin, Gregory D Williams, Amanda Rehr, Karma C Norman, Chris J Harvey

Journal: Ecology and Society

Volume: 20(4): 6

Categories: , ,

ABSTRACT: The development of targets is foundational in conservation. Although progress has been made in setting targets, the diverse linkages among ecological and social components make target setting for coupled social-ecological systems extremely challenging. Developing integrated social-ecological targets is difficult because it forces policy makers to consider how management actions propagate throughout social-ecological systems, and because ultimately it is society, not scientists, that defines targets. We developed an interdisciplinary approach for identifying management targets and illustrate this approach using an example motivated by Puget Sound, USA. Our approach blends ecological modeling with empirical social science to articulate trade-offs and reveal societal preferences for different social-ecological states. The framework aims to place information in the hands of decision makers and promote discussion in the appropriate forums. Our ultimate objective is to encourage the informed participation of citizens in the development of social-ecological targets that reflect their values while also protecting key ecosystem attributes.

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