A network perspective on spatially clustered territorial use rights for fishers (TURF) zones.

Co-managed territorial use rights for fishers (TURFs) have shown promise for small-scale fisheries management. The territorial use rights help clarify access and ownership rights, while co-management arrangements create formal relationships between fishers and government. However, there is limited research into the governance processes that influence the interactions and complementarities of TURF zones that are clustered together. In a network of 16 co-managed TURFs in the Cau Hai lagoon, Vietnam, we analyzed management decentralization and the relationship between spatial and networked (social) proximity. Our findings draw attention to several broad lessons for co-managed TURFs: (1) TURFs may operate as isolated silos if co-management agreements do not address relationships among TURF leaders; (2) spatial proximity does not automatically translate to social proximity; and (3) leaders of individuals TURFs need capacity for communication and coordination with other local fisheries leaders. These findings highlight the importance of consideration to the ways that TURF design and implementation influences the relationships and collaboration between fishers, government officials, and other actors.

Network governance of land-sea social-ecological systems in the Lesser Antilles.

Human activities on land impact coastal-marine systems in the Lesser Antilles. Efforts to address these impacts are constrained by existing top-down and fragmented governance systems. Network governance may help to address land-sea interactions by promoting improved co-governance and land-sea integration. However, the conditions for, and processes of, transformations towards network governance in the region are poorly understood. We examine network governance emergence in four case studies from the Lesser Antilles: Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. We find that governance is currently in transition towards a more networked mode within all the cases. Our results suggest that participation in collaborative projects has played an important role in initiating transitions. Additionally, multilateral agreements, boundary-spanning organizations, and experience with extreme events provide enabling conditions for network governance. Successfully navigating the ongoing transitions towards improved network governance will require (1) facilitating the leadership of central actors and core teams in steering towards network governance and (2) finding ways to appropriately engage the latent capacity of communities and non-state actors in governance networks.

Women’s perspectives of small-scale fisheries and environmental change in Chilika lagoon, India

This article investigates the gendered implications of environmental change using case studies of two small-scale fishing communities in Chilika lagoon, India. We undertake an intersectional analysis that examines dynamics between groups of fisherwomen in relation to social-ecological change. We focus specifically on (1) fisherwomen’s perspectives about the key drivers of change (e.g., natural disasters and aquaculture) within the social and ecological system of Chilika lagoon; (2) how environmental change is impacting the livelihoods and coping responses of fisherwomen; and (3) how fisherwomen communities are adapting to the ongoing process of change, highlighting in particular the gendered dimensions of out-migration. Our findings demonstrate that fisherwomen’s roles and identities are not static and that the impacts of environmental change vary for different groups of fisherwomen. We find that gender intersects with caste, income, geographic location, age, and household membership to create heterogeneous experiences and knowledge that reflects the complexities associated with gender and environmental change. With specific regard to the increase in fisherwomen out-migrating, we show that responses and adaptations to environmental change have gender-differentiated impacts and challenges.

The dark side of transformation: Latent risks in contemporary sustainability discourse

The notion of transformation is gaining traction in contemporary sustainability debates. New ways of theorising and supporting transformations are emerging and, so the argument goes, opening exciting spaces to (re)imagine and (re)structure radically different futures. Yet, questions remain about how the term is being translated from an academic concept into an assemblage of normative policies and practices, and how this process might shape social, political, and environmental change. Motivated by these questions, we identify five latent risks associated with discourse that frames transformation as apolitical and/or inevitable. We refer to these risks as the dark side of transformation. While we cannot predict the future of radical transformations towards sustainability, we suggest that scientists, policymakers, and practitioners need to consider such change in more inherently plural and political ways.

Building resilient coastal communities in the context of climate change.

From black horses to white steeds: building community resilience celebrates and critiques the dynamics of innovation, governance, and culture in place. Case studies from both sides of the North Atlantic illustrate episodes of “turning around”; evolution, transformation, and visionary strategy that breathe new life into the term “think global, act local.” The studies explore how various dark horses including minorities, small towns, peripheries, Aboriginal communities, those with little money, status, voice, or political leverage can rise to the occasion and chart livable futures.

An approach to assess learning conditions, effects and outcomes in environmental governance.

We empirically examine relationships among the conditions that enable learning, learning effects and sustainability outcomes based on experiences in four biosphere reserves in Canada and Sweden. In doing so, we provide a novel approach to measure learning and address an important methodological and empirical challenge in assessments of learning processes in decision-making contexts. Findings from this study highlight the effectiveness of different measures of learning, and how to differentiate the factors that foster learning with the outcomes of learning. Our approach provides a useful reference point for future empirical studies of learning in different environment, resource and sustainability settings.

How do environmental governance processes shape evaluation of outcomes by stakeholders? A causal pathways approach.

Multi-stakeholder environmental management and governance processes are essential to realize social and ecological outcomes. Participation, collaboration, and learning are emphasized in these processes; to gain insights into how they influence stakeholders’ evaluations of outcomes in relation to management and governance interventions we use a path analysis approach to examine their relationships in individuals in four UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. We confirm a model showing that participation in more activities leads to greater ratings of process, and in turn, better evaluations of outcomes.

Adaptive capacity: from assessment to action in coastal social-ecological systems.

Because of the complexity and speed of environmental, climatic, and socio-political change in coastal marine social-ecological systems, there is significant academic and applied interest in assessing and fostering the adaptive capacity of coastal communities. Adaptive capacity refers to the latent ability of a system to respond proactively and positively to stressors or opportunities. A variety of qualitative, quantitative, and participatory approaches have been developed and applied to understand and assess adaptive capacity, each with different benefits, drawbacks, insights, and implications. Drawing on case studies of coastal communities from around the globe, we describe and compare 11 approaches that are often used to study adaptive capacity of social and ecological systems in the face of social, environmental, and climatic change.

Governing the coastal commons: communities, resilience and transformations.

Coastal communities depend on the marine environment for their livelihoods, but the common property nature of marine resources poses major challenges for the governance of such resources. Through detailed cases and consideration of broader global trends, this volume examines how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and the attributes of governance that foster deliberate transformations and help to build resilience of social and ecological systems.

How does network governance affect social-ecological fit across the land–sea interface? An empirical assessment from the Lesser Antilles.

Governance across the land–sea interface presents many challenges related to (1) the engagement of diverse actors and systems of knowledge, (2) the coordinated management of shared ecological resources, and (3) the development of mechanisms to address or account for biogeochemical (e.g., nutrient flows) and ecological (e.g., species movements) interdependencies between marine and terrestrial systems. If left unaddressed, these challenges can lead to multiple problems of social-ecological fit stemming from governance fragmentation or inattention to various components of land–sea systems.