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Wilfrid Laurier University
Environmental Studies
David Scallen

Week One/Two - Socio-ecological Systems (SES) o Ecosystem: biotic (living), abiotic (non-living) and environmental relationships. Focus on wildlife (predator vs. prey). Energy, water and nutrient cycles. o Social System: cultural and social, economic, political or governance, technological (PEST?) o Emphasizes human-in-nature, how ecosystems are integrated with human society Explanation of diagram above: - Based on resilience thinking concept - Natural resource management issues are not just “ecological or social issues” but have multiple integrated elements - Ecological components interact with social components at multiple levels - Processes external to the system influence slow-changing components (which in turn influence faster-changing components that impact people more directly - People respond to system chances through institutional mechanisms, creating feedback loops that affect environmental benefits and human well-being General Systems concepts/relationships Explanation: - Ecological model or “bio-ecological systems theory” – related to human behaviour - Nested systems related to human relationship with personal environment - Helps to understand development, behaviour and personality - Microsystem: o most direct contact o relationships between immediate surroundings o “bi-directional influences” – impact centre or surrounding layers - Mesosystem: connection between influences/ factors in the microsystem - Exosystem: o Does not directly influence core o Impacts microsphere o Core does feel its negative and positive effects - Macrosystem: o Cultural values, customs and law o Factors in macrosystem have a cascading influence throughout the layers - Chronosystem: o Encompasses the dimension of time as it relates to the cores outer layers o Can either influence core/ layers internally or externally o Inevitable due to its chronological properties System components – input/output Explanation: - Input: something put into a system or expended in its operation to achieve output or a result (what is put into a system) - Output: information produced by a system or process from a specific input (results obtained after running an entire process or just a smart part of a process) Outputs of a part of the process can be inputs to another part of the process - Watershed definition: an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. System processes – equilibrium, feedback, threshold - Equilibrium: o Steady or static state o Homeostasis: keep internal conditions steady as external conditions change, maintaining a dynamic equilibrium (the more things change, the more they stay the same, the state of balance in on-going processes) - Feedback: processes that maintain equilibrium, balance of positive and negative feedback - Thresholds: o Level of tolerance to stress or change o Time-delay o Pushed to new equilibrium o Need to establish environmental levels o Develop parameters to monitor changes o Target specific habitats/ regions more susceptible Resilience, persistence, cycling – Holling, disturbance – don’t focus on escarpment - Persistence, Constancy & Resilience: o System property: response to change or distance o Persistence or inertia: ability of a living system to resist being disturbed or altered o Constancy: ability of a living system such as a population to keep its numbers within the limits imposed by available resources o Resilience: ability of a system to restore itself to original condition, magnitude of disturbance or change that a system can experience without shifting into alternate state o New state would have different structural and functional properties o Two definitions of resilience:  StabilityApproach: maintain a stable state. Resistance to disturbance through fast return to stable state. Linear, cause and effect. Resources are manageable, yields are predictable.  InstabilityApproach: disturbance can shift or flip to another equilibrium state. New composition and processes. Measure magnitude of disturbance before the shift. Disturbance that can be absorbed.  Systems are complex, non-linear, multi-equilibrium and self-organizing. They are uncertain and full of discontinuity. - Disturbance ecology: o natural phenomenon o Self-regulatory o Regulatory feedback - Holling (adaptive cycles): system responses 1) Growth or exploitation of resources 2) Conservation 3) Release 4) Reorganization - Panarchy: o “Revolt”: fast, small events that overwhelm large, slow events. (small fire in forest triggers huge fire) o “Remember”: potential accumulated and stored in the larger, slow levels influences the reorganization. (after forest fire the processes and resources accumulated at a larger level slow the leakage of nutrients, and options for renewal draw from the seed bank, physical structures and surrounding species that form a biotic legacy) Week Six/Seven – Chapter 6 Sections 6-1 to 6-8 - Types of property and resources Property Regime Type Owner Owner Rights Owner Duties Open Access (absence of None Total None enforced property rights) Common (communal or Collective (such as Control of access with Maintain objectives group) property a village) right to exclude non- defined by the village owners and regulate users Private property Individual (or Control of access with Avoidance of socially corporate firm) right to exclude non- unacceptable uses owners State property State (in name of Determine rules of Maintain objectives citizens) exclusion and use defined by the state * when a pool source is “open access”, resource type and property rights regimes are not recognized, making the source subject to degradation Multiperson Prisoner’s Dilemma (Hardin’s Tragedy of Commons) - Many individuals make high demands on one common source- resulting in “defect” (or degradation) - If all parties cooperate, parties shall reach (C-S) which is the maximum amount of pay- off without defect - However, if one or some or most parties, refuse to cooperate and consume more resources than the others to receive a higher pay-off (x) at D (defect) Design Features of Successful Common Property Systems 1) On-going mechanisms to solve problems associated with exclusion and subtractability This includes: o Clear definition of the common-pool resource (i.e. forest, fresh groundwater) and the individuals of households with rights to harvest resource products. o Rules to assign benefits and costs to users (i.e. harvest limits, technological constraints, labour inputs, and investment) Rules should be seen as fair to all users and be appropriate to local ecological conditions and the natural of the resource. o Individuals affected by harvesting and protection rules above can participate. Those with most information and stake in the system have the most voice (without feedback from users, rules cannot be adapted to changing conditions over space and time 2) Ongoing mechanisms for invoking and interpreting rules, and assigning sanctions o There are monitors who actively audit the common-pool resources and the behaviour of the users; they should be accountable to the users, or be users o Users who violate operational rules receive graduated sanctions, depending on the seriousness of the offense, from other uses, or from officials accountable to users, or from both o Users and their officials have rapid access to low-cost, local arenas to resolves conflict among users, or between users and officials. 3) Institutional legitimacy o The rights of users to devise their own institutions are not challenged by external governmental authorities, and users have long-term tenure rights to the resource. o For resources that are parts of larger system, appropriation, provisions, monitoring, enforcement, conflict resolution, and governance activities are organized in multiple layers of nested enterprises. Harvesting – perceptions; subsistence hunting; co-management Hunting and Gathering Processes - Optimal foraging theory: o What species to take, what size of groups to forage in, kinds of technologies to invest in o Based on idea of individuals action in self-interest, selfish o How individuals use and harvest resources o Used to determine choice of prey/ food items, preferred selection of food and length of time spent on foraging-patch patterns. - Optimal diet breadth o Potential prey types are ranked o Profitability or energy return rate per encounter (energy obtained from each encounter with prey type / time spent in pursuit or process) o Prey with highest profitability will be pursued o Shift to lower-ranked prey if not profitable to continue hunting higher-rank o Canadian Cree (Winterhalder, 1981) – introduction of guns increased profitability Subsistence hunting - Definition: hunting for the sake of survival rather than entertainment - Allowing only 4500 (or 8%) of birds to be hunted - Main form of mortality in adult birds in spring and summer (70% of yearly hunting) - Predation and over-winter mortality becomes the main causes of death in juveniles - Spring and summer harvest exceeds recruitment of breeding adults and is factor in the continued decline in population size - Little potential for development of non-consumptive use of resources Co-management - Shared decision-making powers - Projects at the local level - High-level of community involvement - Communication with government agencies, scientists, fishery managers, local users of resources and co-management boards - Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Goose Management Plan- emperor goose experienced decline, hunting and predation was controlled, Pacific Flyway Council 2006 established. Management Strategies:  50% decline in population size from the historic level and a long-term decline of 0.4% per year  Illegal harvest continues – therefore, need for hunting closures and increase in encouraging compliance  surveys to estimate timing and magnitude of harvest  More information on harvesting in Russia  mortality of 40% of goslings - predation by gulls  predation by arctic fox poorly documented  increased risks from proposed oil exploration and development in Bristol Bay and along theAlaska Peninsula. Common property; tragedy of the commons – pros and cons; joint management - Tragedy of the Commons (Pros): o Sustainable consumption of resources o Maximum consumption without defect o Cooperation - Tragedy of the Commons (Cons): o No room for expansion o Hard to resist urge to one-up your competition Week Eight/Nine Chap 7 7.1-7.4 Political Ecology – is population the cause? - As human systems evolved ◦ Technology ◦ Economic markets ◦ Ethical standards ◦ Political ideologies ◦ Religious conventions ◦ International law - Focus more on how external forces stimulate resource depletion - Power and environmental justice - Politics of environmental change - Environmental justice – hazard, health, food security - Corporate interest over local – resource extraction - Related to trends to blame environmental issues on population and poverty - Shift from homeostatic proce
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