DGES Seminar - Governing social-ecological systems: Insights from a network perspective


Dr. Steven Alexander
University of Maryland and Stockholm University  

 Friday, February 17th 
2:30 - 4 p.m.
A220 Loeb Building 



Diverse natural resources along coasts produce interactions among a range of users.  The resulting set of interactions presents a fundamental and enduring challenge to effectively governing coastal-marine systems. However, untangling the numerous social-ecological interdependencies – critical for understanding how different connections affect natural resource management outcomes – has proved difficult and is poorly understood. One promising approach to address this fundamental gap is to model coastal-marine systems as social-ecological networks, where social actors and ecological entities are conceptualized as nodes, and their interdependencies as links. This social-ecological network approach is demonstrated through in-depth research in three marine reserves in Jamaica. Specifically, social relational network data of resource users is coupled with known ecological food web connections for Caribbean coral reefs and data related to the target species of individual fisherman. Applying an interdisciplinary and integrated approach that leverages a suite of emerging network analysis and modeling methods provides key insights into network structures, interactions, and interdependencies that may enhance and inhibit effective natural resource management in Jamaica. 



Dr. Steven Alexander is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland and the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. He is an environmental social scientist studying the interplay between conservation, environmental change, and natural resource use. Dr. Alexander is particularly interested in applying novel multi-method and interdisciplinary approaches to better understand the relationship between diverse governance arrangements, managed ecosystems, and natural resource management outcomes. He received his Ph.D. in Social and Ecological Sustainability from the University of Waterloo where he was affiliated with the Environmental Change and Governance Group. 


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