Social Networks: Uncovering Social–Ecological (Mis)matches in Heterogeneous Marine Landscapes

Book chapter

Abstract: Ecological and socioeconomic processes often operate over different spatial and temporal scales. This can lead to increased risks of resource misuse and overexploitation if management is not well aligned with ecological processes operating in the landscape. One important way to ensure better alignment of social and ecological processes is through improved communication among relevant stakeholders operating at different scales and/or localities. Thus, understanding the structure and function of social networks is an important aspect of disentangling outcomes where different stakeholders come together to deal with natural resource dilemmas (Hum Ecol 34:573–592, 2006; Ecol Soc 11:18, 2006; Glob Environ Chang 19:366–374, 2009; Social networks and natural resource management: uncovering the social fabric of environmental governance, Cambridge, 2011). For example, active successful networking of a few key actors at the onset of a resource management initiative was important for building trust and buy-in from local farmers (Hum Ecol 34:573–592, 2006; Ecol Soc 11:18, 2006). Elsewhere, external connections were key to why some rural communities were more successful in initiating economic development; a few key individuals with enough education and skills had contacts with donors and agencies outside the village. These ties to external actors with resources were crucial in differentiating successful outcomes in otherwise very similar-seeming rural Indian communities (Active social capital. Tracing the roots of development and democracy, New York, 2002). In resource-dependent communities, particularly in the developing world, a lack of formal institutions or enforcement of regulations often means that resource users resort to informal social networks for coordinating resource use. To understand if and how social networks influence resource management, it is important to analyze both the patterns of communication but also how these patterns relate to key ecological processes in the landscape.

Citation: Bodin, Ö. and B. I. Crona. 2017. Social Networks: Uncovering Social–Ecological (Mis)matches in Heterogeneous Marine Landscapes. In: Gergel and Turner (ed.) Learning Landscape Ecology: A Practical Guide to Concepts and Techniques. Springer New York, New York, USA. Pages 325-340

Keywords: Social Network, Ecological Process, Resource User, Natural Resource Management, Fish Stock