Review of Social Ecological System Research: An Analysis Based on Bibliometrics
马学成, 巩杰*,, 柳冬青, 张金茜
兰州大学 资源环境学院 西部环境教育部重点实验室,甘肃 兰州 730000
MaXuecheng, GongJie*, LiuDongqing, ZhangJinxi
Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
引用本文: 马学成, 巩杰, 柳冬青, 张金茜. 社会生态系统研究态势:文献计量分析视角[J]. 地球科学进展, 2018, 33(4): 435-444, doi:10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2018.04.0435
MaXuecheng, GongJie, LiuDongqing, ZhangJinxi. Review of Social Ecological System Research: An Analysis Based on Bibliometrics[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2018, 33(4): 435-444, doi:10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2018.04.0435
Copyright 2018 地球科学进展 编辑部
Contributors *Corresponding author:Gong Jie (1975-), male, Ning County, Gansu Province, Associate professor. Research areas include landscape ecology, land change science, ecosystem services, environmental remote sensing and ecological assessment. E-mail:email@example.com First author:Ma Xuecheng (1993-), male, Haidong City, Qinghai Province, Master student. Research areas include social ecological system and ecosystem services.E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Supported Project supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China “Research and demonstration on ecological pattern optimization and typical crops and grasses industrialization technology in hilly loessal area” sub project “Research of ecological pattern optimization based on comprehensive analysis of social ecological systems”(No.2016YFC0501701-01); The National Natural Science Foundation of China “Research on ecosystem services trade-off and its management for the adaptation to the social-ecological system vulnerability in a disaster-prone watershed” (No.41771196).;
Social Ecological System (SES) is the core and highlight of the global change research and sustainability science. Based on Science Citation Index Expanded Database and China National Knowledge Infrastructure, the situation of social ecological system research was analyzed via bibliometrics from 1980 to 2017. The results indicated that: ①The scientific outcomes of social ecological system research are increasing gradually. The developed countries have greatly contributed to it, such as, Sweden and the USA, the leading countries in this field, and Stockholm University is the dominant institution on publication of SES. Cooperation between countries (regions) and institutions is strengthening gradually. ② China is one of the frontier countries in the social ecological system research with a lower increasing speed, its international cooperation and the citation frequency of publications are relatively low, and its international influence should be strengthened in the future. ③ The research highlights are listed as follows: The synergy between social ecological system integrity and social development needs, the complexity and uncertainty of SES, the mechanism between social system and its environmental factors, etc. In addition, under the stress of human activity and global climate change, the research of response and feedback mechanism of SES and policy decision-making are one of the important topics of SES.
Social ecological system
以美国科学信息研究所的SCI-E (Science Citation Index Expanded) 数据库为数据源分析国际上社会生态系统领域研究进展,以SCI-E数据库中检索到的来自中国的英文文献和CNKI数据库中的中文文献分析国内社会生态系统领域研究态势。在SCI-E数据库中,检索主题为“Social ecological system”,文献类别为“Environmental sciences or Ecology or Environmental studies or Geography”,文献类型为“Article”,筛选得到国际论文共3 189篇;在CNKI数据库中,检索主题为 “社会生态系统or社会经济自然复合生态系统or复合生态系统or社会复合生态系统or生态社会复合系统”,筛选获得文献共366篇,数据采集时间为2017年4月30日。借助CiteSpace软件,在Excel软件中对论文数、总被引频次、篇均被引频次及关键词等指标进行归纳整理,分析该领域研究的发展态势及热点。
图11001-8166-33-4-435/img_1.jpg图1 社会生态系统研究论文年度变化趋势(1980—2017年) 1980—1990年SCI-E数据库无社会生态系统研究文献收录,国内仅有35篇相关中文文献,故图1横坐标从1990年开始 Fig.1 Annual change trend of social ecological system research papers from 1980 to 2017 The start year of the figure is 1990 due to there are no papers on social ecological system included in the SCI-E database and there are only 35 Chinese literatures from 1980 to 1990
Fig.11001-8166-33-4-435/img_1.jpg图1 社会生态系统研究论文年度变化趋势(1980—2017年) 1980—1990年SCI-E数据库无社会生态系统研究文献收录,国内仅有35篇相关中文文献,故图1横坐标从1990年开始 Fig.1 Annual change trend of social ecological system research papers from 1980 to 2017 The start year of the figure is 1990 due to there are no papers on social ecological system included in the SCI-E database and there are only 35 Chinese literatures from 1980 to 1990
Annual change trend of social ecological system research papers from 1980 to 2017 The start year of the figure is 1990 due to there are no papers on social ecological system included in the SCI-E database and there are only 35 Chinese literatures from 1980 to 1990
表1 发文量前10位国家的论文量及其被引用情况(1980—2017年) Table 1 Papers numbers and its citation of the top-10 countries from 1980 to 2017
Papers numbers and its citation of the top-10 countries from 1980 to 2017
图21001-8166-33-4-435/img_2.jpg图2 国际前7位主要国家历年发文情况(1980—2017年) 1980—1990年SCI-E数据库无社会生态系统研究文献收录,国内仅有35篇相关中文文献,故图2横坐标从1990年开始 Fig.2 Annual paper numbers of the top-7 countries from 1980 to 2017 The start year of the figure is 1990 due to there are no papers on social ecological system included in the SCI-E database and there are only 35 Chinese literatures from 1980 to 1990
Fig.21001-8166-33-4-435/img_2.jpg图2 国际前7位主要国家历年发文情况(1980—2017年) 1980—1990年SCI-E数据库无社会生态系统研究文献收录,国内仅有35篇相关中文文献,故图2横坐标从1990年开始 Fig.2 Annual paper numbers of the top-7 countries from 1980 to 2017 The start year of the figure is 1990 due to there are no papers on social ecological system included in the SCI-E database and there are only 35 Chinese literatures from 1980 to 1990
Annual paper numbers of the top-7 countries from 1980 to 2017 The start year of the figure is 1990 due to there are no papers on social ecological system included in the SCI-E database and there are only 35 Chinese literatures from 1980 to 1990
Abstract Global environmental change and sustainability science increasingly recognize the need to address the consequences of changes taking place in the structure and function of the biosphere. These changes raise questions such as: Who and what are vulnerable to the multiple environmental changes underway, and where? Research demonstrates that vulnerability is registered not by exposure to hazards (perturbations and stresses) alone but also resides in the sensitivity and resilience of the system experiencing such hazards. This recognition requires revisions and enlargements in the basic design of vulnerability assessments, including the capacity to treat coupled human-environment systems and those linkages within and without the systems that affect their vulnerability. A vulnerability framework for the assessment of coupled human-environment systems is presented.
Resilience Alliance. Assessing Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems: Workbook for Practitioners. Version 2.0[EB/OL].2010[2018-01-11].
Humanity has emerged as a major force in the operation of the biosphere. The focus is shifting from the environment as externality to the biosphere as precondition for social justice, economic development, and sustainability. In this article, we exemplify the intertwined nature of social-ecological systems and emphasize that they operate within, and as embedded parts of the biosphere and as such coevolve with and depend on it. We regard social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems and use a social-ecological resilience approach as a lens to address and understand their dynamics. We raise the challenge of stewardship of development in concert with the biosphere for people in diverse contexts and places as critical for long-term sustainability and dignity in human relations. Biosphere stewardship is essential, in the globalized world of interactions with the Earth system, to sustain and enhance our life-supporting environment for human well-being and future human development on Earth, hence, the need to reconnect development to the biosphere foundation and the need for a biosphere-based sustainability science.
TakeuchiK, ElmqvistT, HatakeyamaM,et al. Using sustainability science to analyse social-ecological restoration in NE Japan after the great earthquake and tsunami of 2011[J]. , 2014, 9(4): 513-526.
In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that devastated part of northeastern Japan in March 2011, proposals for reconstruction and rehabilitation are still subjects of debate. The claim by many climate scientists that large-scale extreme events can be expected in the future, with similar catastrophic effects in coastal areas, suggests the need for long-term planning that aims at building resilience, the ability for socio-ecological systems to withstand and recover quickly from natural disasters, and continue to develop. We hypothesize that ecosystems and socio-economic resilience will provide affected communities with flexible barriers against future disasters and greater protection in the long run than will hard/engineering solutions such as high seawalls aimed at ensuring only physical security. Building social/ecological resilience in the Tohoku region will increase general security and is anticipated also to contribute to an enhanced quality of life now and for generations to come. This paper argues that building resilience in the affected area requires a transformation to sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries and we describe how the links between satoyama and satoumi , traditional rural territorial and coastal landscapes in Japan, can contribute to this revitalization and to strengthening the relationship between local residents and the landscape in the affected communities. Decision makers at local, regional and national levels need to take a holistic approach based on sustainability science to understand the inter-relationships between these landscapes and ecosystems to develop a robust rebuilding plan for the affected communities. Moreover, this paper suggests that building resilient communities in Japan that demonstrate the strategic benefits of satoyama and satoumi linkages can be a model for building resilient rural and urban communities throughout the world.
Contemporary environmental challenges call for new research approaches that include the human dimension when studying the natural environment. In spite of the recent development of several conceptual frameworks integrating human society with nature, there has been less methodological and theoretical progress on how to quantitatively study such social–ecological interdependencies. We propose a novel theoretical framework for addressing this gap that partly builds on the rapidly growing interdisciplinary research on complex networks. The framework makes it possible to unpack, define and formalize ways in which societies and nature are interdependent, and to empirically link this to specific governance challenges and opportunities using a range of theories from both the social and natural sciences in an integrated way. At the core of the framework is a set of basic building blocks (motifs) that each represents a simplified but non-trivial social–ecological systems (SES) consisting of two social actors and two ecological resources. The set represents all possible patterns of interdependency in a SES. Each unique motif is characterized in terms of social and ecological connectivity, resource sharing, and resource substitutability. By aligning theoretical insights related to the management of common-pool resources, metapopulation dynamics, and the problem of fit in SES with the set of motifs, we demonstrate the multi-theoretical ability of the framework in a case study of a rural agricultural landscape in southern Madagascar. Several mechanisms explaining the inhabitants’ demonstrated ability to preserve their scattered forest patches in spite of strong pressures on land and forest resources are presented.
Development policy increasingly focuses on building capacities to respond to change (adaptation), and to drive change (innovation). Few studies, however, focus specifically on the social and gender differentiation of capacities to adapt and innovate. We address this gap using a qualitative study in three communities in Solomon Islands; a developing country, where rural livelihoods and well-being are tightly tied to agriculture and fisheries. We find the five dimensions of capacity to adapt and to innovate (i.e. assets, flexibility, learning, social organisation, agency) to be mutually dependant. For example, limits to education, physical mobility and agency meant that women and youth, particularly, felt it was difficult to establish relations with external agencies to access technical support or new information important for innovating or adapting. Willingness to bear risk and to challenge social norms hindered both women’s and men’s capacity to innovate, albeit to differing degrees. Our findings are of value to those aspiring for equitable improvements to well-being within dynamic and diverse social–ecological systems.
PalmerM, BernhardtE, ChorneskyE, et al. Ecology for a crowded planet[J]. , 2004, 304(5 675): 1 251-1 252.
Within the next 50 to 100 years, support and maintenance of an extended human family of 8 to 11 billion people will become difficult at best. Our consumption rates already exceed the supply of many resources crucial to human health, and few places on Earth do not bear the stamp of human impacts (1, 2). Fossil fuel combustion and fertilizer production have doubled the global rate of nitrogen fixation, which has exacerbated ongoing eutrophication while fertilizing remote portions of the planet (3). Increases in global commerce have led to the spread of pests and diseases that do great harm because they are divorced from their natural predators and pathogens (4). Studying the few and rapidly shrinking undisturbed ecosystems is important, but now is the time to focus on an ecology for the future. Because our planet will be overpopulated for the foreseeable future and natural resource consumption shows no signs of slowing, human modifications of the environment will only increase. Thus, a research perspective that incorporates human activities as integral components of Earth's ecosystems is needed, as is a focus on a future in
61A deep analysis of the scientific literature on ecosystem services is proposed.61This ecological concept has little been appropriated by the agricultural sciences.61Few attention is paid to the issue of rival services and trade-offs.61Those issues are fundamental for agricultural sciences.61Agricultural sciences should broaden the issues they traditionally address.
社会水文学是一门研究人水耦合系统动态变化规律、服务水资源管理的交叉学科,通过对Web of Science数据库检索到的论文进行文献计量分析,系统综述社会水文学的国际研究发展态势和趋势。分析结果显示,广义的社会水文学研究涉及水资源、环境科学、土木工程、地球科学、环境工程、农学、环境研究、生态学、气象与大气科学、地理学等。国际上长期关注水资源管理、水质、农业灌溉和水政策等问题,不同时期研究的问题热点根据时代发展的水资源管理需求有所变化,不同国家根据国内水资源情势,其关注点也有所不同。狭义的社会水文学研究主要涉及城市化和农村发展的水需求和水安全等问题,强调通过有效的水文模型预测来支持科学管理决策。该学科的发展将会促进人类对水资源的可持续管理和利用,更好地解决人类社会面临的水问题。
WangS, FuB, WeiY, et al. Ecosystem services management: An integrated approach[J]. , 2013, 5(1): 11-15.
Attracting professionals from diverse disciplines, the ecosystem services conceptual framework with integrative character strives to provide a solution to the drastic decline of the natural resources of our planet. Nonetheless, losses of ecosystem services accelerate more rapidly than ever. As humans interact with nature, increasing their global presence in both scale and intensity, the need for a new macroeconomic world emerges. This world should be based on an integration of nature and society (nature-societal) or society and ecosystems (socio-ecosystem), which will facilitate the transition toward sustainable ecosystem services management. Achieving this new macroeconomic economic paradigm would require redesigning a new thought process that embraces ecosystem services as precious goods, rather than unlimited and free, unappreciated resources. Market and government are not sufficient for this new macro-economics, in which ecosystem services are its main content. We suggest an integrated set of market, government, and human values to manage ecosystem services, as traditional, narrow, economic, political and scientific solutions alone do not adequately address the sustainable use of natural ecosystems. Culture, created from human values which, to a certain extent, can be influenced or directed, has the capacity to influence the interactions between nature, social and economic systems. The ancient Chinese philosophy of 'unity of man with nature' provides principles which can guide and develop human values into a new, positive force with the potential to harmoniously manage sustainable ecosystem services.
MaesJ, EgohB, WillemenL,et al. Mapping ecosystem services for policy support and decision making in the European Union[J]. , 2012, 1(1): 31-39.
78 Mainstreaming of ecosystem services into EU policy is dependent spatial information. 78 We summarize current methods of mapping ecosystem services. 78 We identify knowledge gaps in mapping ecosystem services. 78 We propose a stepwise framework for mapping ecosystem services. 78 We demonstrate the use of the framework for mapping using water purification.
Kanyuuru CK, MburuJ, NjokaJ.Adaptation of institutional arrangements to management of Northern Rangelands of Kenya[J]. , 2017, 19(1): 67-82.
Abstract Northern Rangelands of Kenya have continued to grapple with management challenges largely due to a lack of understanding of the dynamics thereof. Eroding customary institutions and new institutional arrangements characterize the system suggesting that adaptation is taking place to cope with the change. It is imperative that these socio-ecosystems adjust to the disturbance without disintegrating into a different state that is controlled by a different set of processes to ensure sustainable rangeland management. To understand the nature of change, the study sought to evaluate institutional arrangements engaged in tackling growing socio-economic and ecological factors challenging development within the last decade. Three study sites namely Kinna, Makurian and Westgate, representing three types of institutional arrangements (elders only, group ranch committee and community conservancy board), were investigated. Key informants, focused group discussions and household survey methods were used to gather data. Data were managed and analysed using Ms Access, Ms Excel, social network analysis and SPSS. Findings indicate that more actors (internal and external) are engaging in management of social economic and ecological factors challenging development within the last decade. The co-management approach allows increased capacity to tackle these challenges and further presents more opportunities for a diversified livelihood, two key features of ecosystem resilience. Findings are useful as the Kenya government implements the National Land Policy that recognizes the need to restructure community land and its management.
von HaarenC, AlbertC, BarkmannJ,et al. From explanation to application: Introducing a Practice-oriented Ecosystem Services Evaluation (PRESET) model adapted to the context of landscape planning and management[J]. , 2014, 29(8): 1 335-1 346.
The development and use of the conceptual framework of ecosystem services (ES) has been very successful in supporting the broad diffusion and application of ES within science and policy communities. However, most of the currently proposed interpretations of the framework neither correlate to environmental planning nor to decision-making contexts at the local and regional scale, which is a potential reason for the slow adoption and practice of the ES conceptual framework. This paper proposes a practice-oriented ES evaluation (PRESET) model specifically adapted to the requirements of local and regional planning and decision-making contexts, and discusses its potential benefits and implications for practice. Through the usage of PRESET we suggest making a distinction between ‘offered ES’, ‘utilized ES’, ‘human input’, and ‘ES benefits’ as relevant information for decision-making. Furthermore, we consider it important to link these decision-support categories to different value dimensions relevant in planning and management practice. PRESET provides guidance to inject the ES concept into planning, but needs to be implemented together with concrete assessment methods, indicators and data. The planning strategic benefits of using PRESET include its reference to existing legislative objectives, avoiding the risk that monetized ES values might dominate decision-making, clarification of human contributions, and easier identification of land use conflicts and synergies. Examples are given for offered and utilized ES, as well as for respective evaluation approaches and instruments of implementation.
Santana SE, Barroso GF.Integrated ecosystem management of river basins and the coastal zone in Brazil[J]., 2014, 28(14): 4 927-4 942.
International society has begun to consider river basins and the coastal zone as one management unit that requires an ecosystem approach. Various countries have undertaken initiatives since the 1970s and have improved the approach to integrated coastal zone management. Brazil has not been one of them. Its sector-based approach to most environmental issues started in the 1980s with the National Environmental Policy Act (Law 6,938/1981). The National Coastal Zone Management Plan (NCZMP) was then approved by Law 7,661 in 1988. Shortly thereafter, the 1988 Brazilian Constitution was enacted, which established the environment as a common good to be used by the entire society but in such a way as to prevent environmental degradation and conserve its quality for present and future generations. The National Water Resources Policy (NWRP) was not enacted until 1997 (Law 9,433/1997). This law established that water resource management in Brazil must take into account estuarine ecosystems and the coastal zone, using an integrated approach. Only in 2006 did the National Water Resources Council (NWRC) create a technical chamber dedicated to developing regulatory measures for integrated management in Brazil. There has been substantial discussion and various proposals to implement it, as outlined in this article. This paper concludes with suggestions for implementing integrated river basin and coastal zone management in Brazil.
The Ecosystem Services Journal starts in 2012 with a formidable basis in the reports and books from the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and TEEB projects. Following a half-century history of growing awareness and associated scientific based policy development a bridging concept with natural and social science notions was developed and coined “ecosystem services”. The agenda for the journal Ecosystem Services, presented in this introductory paper to the Journal Ecosystem Services is aimed at scientists and policy analysts who consider contributing to better knowledge and better use of that knowledge about ecosystem services. This should include knowledge of the ecological systems that provide the services, the economic systems that benefit from them, and the institutions that need to develop effective codes for a sustainable use. The agenda is derived from the experience of the authors in science and policy analysis and extended with some of the recommendations from the TEEB book for national and international policy making emphasising the science—policy—practice linkage, which is the philosophy of the Journal.
Martone RG, BodiniA, MicheliF.Identifying potential consequences of natural perturbations and management decisions on a coastal fishery social-ecological system using qualitative loop analysis[J]. , 2017, 22(1): 34.
Managing for sustainable development and resource extraction requires an understanding of the feedbacks between ecosystems and humans. These feedbacks are part of complex social-ecological systems (SES), in which resources, actors, and governance systems interact to produce outcomes across these component parts. Qualitative modeling approaches offer ways to assess complex SES dynamics. Loop analysis in particular is useful for examining and identifying potential outcomes from external perturbations and management interventions in data poor systems when very little is known about functional relationships and parameter values. Using a case study of multispecies, multifleet coastal small-scale fisheries, we demonstrate the application of loop analysis to provide predictions regarding SES responses to perturbations and management actions. Specifically, we examine the potential ecological and socioeconomic consequences to coastal fisheries of different governance interventions (e.g., territorial user rights, fisheries closures, market-based incentives, ecotourism subsidies) and environmental changes. Our results indicate that complex feedbacks among biophysical and socioeconomic components can result in counterintuitive and unexpected outcomes. For example, creating new jobs through ecotourism or subsidies might have mixed effects on members of fishing cooperatives vs. nonmembers, highlighting equity issues. Market-based interventions, such as ecolabels, are expected to have overall positive economic effects, assuming a direct effect of ecolabels on market-prices, and a lack of negative biological impacts under most model structures. Our results highlight that integrating ecological and social variables in a unique unit of management can reveal important potential trade-offs between desirable ecological and social outcomes, highlight which user groups might be more vulnerable to external shocks, and identify which interventions should be further tested to identify potential win-win outcomes across the triple-bottom line of the sustainable development paradigm.
Holling CS.Resilience andstability of ecological systems[J]. , 1973, 4(4): 1-23.
ABSTRACT THIS REVIEW EXPLORES BOTH ECOLOGICAL THEORY AND THE BEHAVIOR OF NATURAL SYSTEMS TO SEE IF DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES OF THEIR BEHAVIOR CAN YIELD DIFFERENT INSIGHTS THAT ARE USEFUL FOR BOTH THEORY AND PRACTICE. THE RESILIENCE AND STABILITY VIEWPOINTS OF THE BEHAVIOR OF ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS CAN YIELD VERY DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO THE MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES. THE STABILITY VIEW EMPHASIZES THE EQUILIBRIUM, THE MAINTENANCE OF A PREDICTABLE WORLD, AND THE HARVESTING OF NATURE'S EXCESS PRODUCTION WITH AS LITTLE FLUCTUATION AS POSSIBLE. THE RESILIENCE VIEW EMPHASIZES DOMAINS OF ATTRACTION AND THE NEED FOR PERSISTENCE. BUT EXTINCTION IS NOT PURELY A RANDOM EVENT: IT RESULTS FROM THE INTERACTION OF RANDOM EVENTS WITH THOSE DETERMINISTIC FORCES THAT DEFINE THE SHAPE, SIZE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DOMAIN OF ATTRACTION. THE VERY APPROACH, THEREFORE, THAT ASSURES A STABLE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED YIELD OF A RENEWABLE RESOURCE, MIGHT SO CHANGE THESE CONDITIONS THAT THE RESILIENCE IS LOST OR IS REDUCED SO THAT A CHANCE AND RARE EVENT THAT PREVIOUSLY COULD BE ABSORBED CAN TRIGGER A SUDDEN DRAMATIC CHANGE AND LOSS OF STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF THE SYSTEM. A MANAGEMENT APPROACH BASED ON RESILIENCE, ON THE OTHER HAND, WOULD EMPHASIZE THE NEED TO KEEP OPTIONS OPEN, THE NEED TO VIEW EVENTS IN A REGIONAL RATHER THAN A LOCAL CONTEXT, AND THE NEED TO EMPHASIZE HETEROGENEITY. THE RESILIENCE FRAMEWORK DOES NOT REQUIRE A PRECISE CAPACITY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE BUT ONLY A QUALITATIVE CAPACITY TO DEVISE SYSTEMS THAT CAN ABSORB AND ACCOMMODATE FUTURE EVENTS IN WHATEVER UNEXPECTED FORM THEY MAY TAKE.
WalkerB, Holling CS, Carpenter SR,et al. Resilience, adaptability and transform ability in social-ecological systems[J]. , 2004, 9(2): 5-12.
The concept of resilience has evolved considerably since Holling#8217;s (1973) seminal paper. Different interpretations of what is meant by resilience, however, cause confusion. Resilience of a system needs to be considered in terms of the attributes that govern the system#8217;s dynamics. Three related attributes of social#8211;ecological systems (SESs) determine their future trajectories: resilience, adaptability, and transformability. Resilience (the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks) has four components#8212;latitude, resistance, precariousness, and panarchy#8212;most readily portrayed using the metaphor of a stability landscape. Adaptability is the capacity of actors in the system to influence resilience (in a SES, essentially to manage it). There are four general ways in which this can be done, corresponding to the four aspects of resilience. Transformability is the capacity to create a fundamentally new system when ecological, economic, or social structures make the existing system untenable. The implications of this interpretation of SES dynamics for sustainability science include changing the focus from seeking optimal states and the determinants of maximum sustainable yield (the MSY paradigm), to resilience analysis, adaptive resource management, and adaptive governance.
The period-doubling route to chaos has occupied a prominent position and it is still object of great interest among the different complex phenomena observed in nonlinear dynamical systems. The reason of such interest is that such route to chaos has been observed in many physical, chemical and ecological models when they change over from simple periodic to complex aperiodic motion. In interlinked social鈥揺cological systems (SESs) there might be an apparent great ability to cope with change and adapt if analysed only in their social dimension. However, such an adaptation may be at the expense of changes in the capacity of ecosystems to sustain the adaptation and it could affect the quality of ecosystem goods and services since it could degrade natural renewable and non-renewable resources and generate traps and breakpoints in the whole SES eventually leading to chaotic behaviour. This paper is rooted in previous results on modelling tourism-based SESs, only recently object of theoretical investigations, focusing on the dynamics of the coexistence between mass-tourists and eco-tourists. Here we describe a finer scale analysis of time-dependent regimes in the ranges of the degradation coefficient (bifurcation parameter), for which the system can exhibit coexistence. This bifurcation parameter is determined by objective changes in the real world in the quality of ecosystem goods and services together with whether and how such changes are perceived by different tourist typologies. Varying the bifurcation parameter, the dynamical system may in fact evolve toward an aperiodical dynamical state in many ways, showing that there could be different scenarios for the transition to chaos. This paper provides a further evidence for the period-doubling route to chaos with reference to tourism-based socio-ecological models, and for a period locking behaviour, where a small variation in the bifurcation parameter can lead to alternating regular and chaotic dynamics. Moreover, for many models undergoing chaos via period-doubling, it has been showed that structural perturbations with real ecological justification, may break and reverse the expected period-doublings, hence inhibiting chaos. This feature may be of a certain relevance also in the context of adaptive management of tourism-based SESs: these period-doubling reversals might in fact be used to control chaos, since they potentially act in way to suppress possibly dangerous fluctuations.
Marín VH, Rodríguez LC, Niemeyer HM.A socio-ecological model of the Opuntia scrublands in the Peruvian Andes[J]. , 2012, 227(1): 136-146.
Opuntia scrublands are important socio-ecological systems (SESs) in the Andean area. Opuntia provides a variety of products employed in the human diet and in animal feed, as well as cochineal insects, a highly valued source of dyes. Land clearance on the scrublands promotes changes in the use of the land and the development of new economic activities. In this article, we describe the development a numerical model, built as a five submodel interactive set under Stella 庐; v9.1.4, to understand the dynamics of this SES in the Andean area of Ayacucho-Peru in terms of its vegetation, scrubland habilitation, cochineal collection, fruit harvest and livestock keeping. Ecological components (cochineal insects and vegetation) are modeled considering system's carrying capacities; social components (fruit, livestock and land) incorporate economic (investments, costs and benefits) and social (participation, association) parameters and processes. The model highlights the role of social capital on land clearance and the effect of the latter on the livelihoods of local farmers.
This paper outlines selected approaches to measuring risk and vulnerability to hazards of natural origin using indicators and indices. It discusses their applicability, usefulness and policy implications. Indicators and indices have been developed on different scales and for different purposes. The paper will briefly introduce three global approaches to disaster-risk identification and will juxtapose them with one local approach in order to examine the differences concerning the functions and the purpose of the assessment as well as their impact for policy development. In contrast to an earlier comparative analysis of the three global disaster-risk indicator programmes by Mark Pelling in 2004, which focused primarily on the methodologies used, this paper places more emphasis on aspects of applicability and policy implications and outlines challenges and limitations of the different approaches. Since the assessment and mapping of human vulnerability is less developed than hazard assessment work [Pelling M., 2004. Visions of Risk: A Review of International Indicators of Disaster Risk and its Management. UNDP芒聙聰Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BRCP), Geneva], this paper focuses in greater depth on how the approaches capture vulnerability. Conclusions will be formulated on how to further enhance vulnerability identification, particularly at the sub-national level.
Johnson JE, Welch DJ, Maynard JA,et al. Assessing and reducing vulnerability to climate change: Moving from theory to practical decision-support[J]. , 2016, 74: 220-229.
As climate change continues to impact socio-ecological systems, tools that assist conservation managers to understand vulnerability and target adaptations are essential. Quantitative assessments of vulnerability are rare because available frameworks are complex and lack guidance for dealing with data limitations and integrating across scales and disciplines. This paper describes a semi-quantitative method for assessing vulnerability to climate change that integrates socio-ecological factors to address management objectives and support decision-making. The method applies a framework first adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and uses a structured 10-step process. The scores for each framework element are normalized and multiplied to produce a vulnerability score and then the assessed components are ranked from high to low vulnerability. Sensitivity analyses determine which indicators most influence the analysis and the resultant decision-making process so data quality for these indicators can be reviewed to increase robustness. Prioritisation of components for conservation considers other economic, social and cultural values with vulnerability rankings to target actions that reduce vulnerability to climate change by decreasing exposure or sensitivity and/or increasing adaptive capacity. This framework provides practical decision-support and has been applied to marine ecosystems and fisheries, with two case applications provided as examples: (1) food security in Pacific Island nations under climate-driven fish declines, and (2) fisheries in the Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia. The step-wise process outlined here is broadly applicable and can be undertaken with minimal resources using existing data, thereby having great potential to inform adaptive natural resource management in diverse locations.
Frazier TG, Thompson CM, Dezzani RJ.A framework for the development of the SERV model: A spatially explicit resilience-Vulnerability model[J]. , 2014, 51: 158-172.
As a response to vulnerability assessment limitations, this research presents a framework for a Spatially Explicit Resilience-Vulnerability (SERV) model that measures vulnerability at the sub-county level. The SERV model determines varying sub-county vulnerability using socioeconomic, spatial and place-specific indicators that represent exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine the spatial distribution and differential influence of indicators on overall sub-county vulnerability. The exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity components were then combined to create holistic sub-county vulnerability scores. The results indicate that vulnerability varies at the sub-county level. Results also indicate that the inclusion of spatially explicit indicators in vulnerability assessments aids decision makers in identifying markers of vulnerability in specific areas. Holistic vulnerability scores can help empower decision makers in targeting mitigation efforts toward areas where vulnerability is highest and at indicators that most impact vulnerability.
LiuH, WillemsP, BaoA,et al. Effect of climate change on the vulnerability of a socio-ecological system in an arid area[J]. , 2016, 137: 1-9.
The vulnerability of arid areas threatens ecosystems and human existence. With climate change and increasing human activities, addressing this vulnerability has become an important concern. To support this objective, we present a complex index system to analyze vulnerability at a regional scale with a 102km02×02102km resolution. Based on the evaluation framework, which includes natural resources, the natural environment and the social economy, the results indicate that an ecosystem in a mountainous area is more vulnerable than it is in a plain. Land desertification will worsen from 2014 to 2099 under the RCP4.5 scenarios and improve slightly under the RCP8.5 and RCP2.6 scenarios, while the suitable land for agriculture increased slightly under the three scenarios. In addition, a regional sensitivity analysis of vulnerability to climate change shows that the improving region and the worsening region will occupy 1.30% and 74.51%, respectively. In view of this, the socio-ecological system will undergo a worsening trend as a whole. Finally, we simplified how to solve the problem of a socio-ecological system in the future. This research method and results would generate new insights with respect to planning for sustainable development and provide a reference for decision-making.
FolkeC, CarpenterS, ElmqvistT,et al. Resilience and sustainable development: Building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations[J]. , 2002, 31(5): 437-440.
Emerging recognition of two fundamental errors underpinning past polices for natural resource issues heralds awareness of the need for a worldwide fundamental change in and in practice of environmental management. The first error has been an implicit assumption that ecosystem responses to use are linear, predictable and controllable. The second has been an assumption that and natural systems can be treated independently. However, evidence that has been accumulating in diverse regions all over the world suggests that natural and social systems behave in nonlinear ways, exhibit marked thresholds in their dynamics, and that social-ecological systems act as strongly coupled, complex and evolving integrated systems. This article is a summary of a report prepared on behalf of the Environmental Advisory Council to the Swedish Government, as input to the process of the World Summit on Sustainable (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa in 26 August 4 September 2002. We use the concept of resilience--the capacity to buffer change, learn and develop--as a framework for understanding how to sustain and enhance adaptive capacity in a complex world of rapid transformations. Two useful tools for resilience-building in social-ecological systems are structured scenarios and active adaptive management. These tools require and facilitate a social context with flexible and open institutions and multi-level governance systems that allow for and increase adaptive capacity without foreclosing future options.
ChapmanA, DarbyS.Evaluating sustainable adaptation strategies for vulnerable mega-deltas using system dynamics modelling: Rice agriculture in the Mekong Delta’s An Giang Province, Vietnam[J]. , 2016, 559(2): 326-338.
Abstract Challenging dynamics are unfolding in social-ecological systems around the globe as society attempts to mitigate and adapt to climate change while sustaining rapid local development. The IPCC's 5th assessment suggests these changing systems are susceptible to unforeseen and dangerous 'emergent risks'. An archetypal example is the Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) where the river dyke network has been heightened and extended over the last decade with the dual objectives of (1) adapting the delta's 18 million inhabitants and their livelihoods to increasingly intense river-flooding, and (2) developing rice production through a shift from double to triple-cropping. Negative impacts have been associated with this shift, particularly in relation to its exclusion of fluvial sediment deposition from the floodplain. A deficit in our understanding of the dynamics of the rice-sediment system, which involve unintuitive delays, feedbacks, and tipping points, is addressed here, using a system dynamics (SD) approach to inform sustainable adaptation strategies. Specifically, we develop and test a new SD model which simulates the dynamics between the farmers' economic system and their rice agriculture operations, and uniquely, integrates the role of fluvial sediment deposition within their dyke compartment. We use the model to explore a range of alternative rice cultivation strategies. Our results suggest that the current dominant strategy (triple-cropping) is only optimal for wealthier groups within society and over the short-term (ca. 10years post-implementation). The model suggests that the policy of opening sluice gates and leaving paddies fallow during high-flood years, in order to encourage natural sediment deposition and the nutrient replenishment it supplies, is both a more equitable and a more sustainable policy. But, even with this approach, diminished supplies of sediment-bound nutrients and the consequent need to compensate with artificial fertilisers will mean that smaller-scale farmers in the VMD are more vulnerable to accruing debt. Copyright 脗 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Holling CS.Understanding the complexity of economic, ecological, and social systems[J]. , 2001, 4(5): 390-405.
Abstract This article examines whether some response strategies to climate variability and change have the potential to undermine long-term resilience of social鈥揺cological systems. We define the parameters of a resilience approach, suggesting that resilience is characterized by the ability to absorb perturbations without changing overall system function, the ability to adapt within the resources of the system itself, and the ability to learn, innovate, and change. We evaluate nine current regional climate change policy responses and examine governance, sensitivity to feedbacks, and problem framing to evaluate impacts on characteristics of a resilient system. We find that some responses, such as the increase in harvest rates to deal with pine beetle infestations in Canada and expansion of biofuels globally, have the potential to undermine long-term resilience of resource systems. Other responses, such as decentralized water planning in Brazil and tropical storm disaster management in Caribbean islands, have the potential to increase long-term resilience. We argue that there are multiple sources of resilience in most systems and hence policy should identify such sources and strengthen capacities to adapt and learn. WIREs Clim Change 2011 2 757鈥766 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.133 For further resources related to this article, please visit the TODO: clickthrough URL WIREs website
Azizuh MF, Knight-Lenihan S, van Roon M. Sense shaping place: Repositioning the role of sense of place in social-ecological systems from a bioregional planning viewpoint[J]. , 2016, 3(1): 3-22.
Dynamic landscape change affects and is affected by human attitudes. The effect of pattern on process has been investigated mainly in landscape ecological sciences, focusing on whether and how the human influence on spatial organization of landscape creates stable, functioning ecosystems. In earlier ecological studies, despite embedding their values, perception and attitudes when delineating a place, humans have been treated as an independent, separate entity. Equally, the ecological imperative expressed through operational models of conservation planning changes the physical organization of landscape in such a way that it affects public connection to landscape and influences views and attitudes towards ecosystem governance. A more comprehensive understanding is needed of these two phenomena, addressing the linkages between ecosystem conservation and how people respond to dynamic change. Therefore we employ ‘sense of place’ as a broad concept to assess and evaluate the way in which people shape their responsiveness to place through a bio - regional planning approach. . This paper focuses on the attitudinal dimension of sense of place in planning-based activities. The results suggest that although place connection strongly empowers protective and ethical -based actions, it remains unclear how planning renders the negotiation of the different actors’ values with respect to the concept of place. A conceptual framework is proposed, to assess the role of sense of place as an integrative concept in understanding the linkages of social -ecological systems and the need for future research to investigate how planning is receptive to the multitude of actor’s values and attitudes that shape social -ecological changes across the landscape.
EakinH, YorkA, AggarwalR, et al. Cognitive and institutional influences on farmers’ adaptive capacity: Insights into barriers and opportunities for transformative change in central Arizona[J]. , 2016, 16(3): 801-814.
The prospect of unprecedented environmental change, combined with increasing demand on limited resources, demands adaptive responses at multiple levels. In this article, we analyze different attributes of farm-level capacity in central Arizona, USA, in relation to farmers’ responses to recent dynamism in commodity and land markets, and the institutional and social contexts of farmers’ water and production portfolios. Irrigated agriculture is at the heart of the history and identity of the American Southwest, although the future of agriculture is now threatened by the prospect of “mega-droughts,” urbanization and associated inter-sector and inter-state competition over water in an era of climatic change. We use farm-level survey data, supplemented by in-depth interviews, to explore the cross-level dimensions of capacity in the agriculture–urban nexus of central Arizona. The surveyed farmers demonstrate an interest in learning, capacity for adaptive management and risk-taking attitudes consistent with emerging theory of capacity for land use and livelihood transformation. However, many respondents perceive their self-efficacy in the face of future climatic and hydrological change as uncertain. Our study suggests that the components of transformational capacity will necessarily need to go beyond the objective resources and cognitive capacities of individuals to incorporate “linking” capacities: the political and social attributes necessary for collective strategy formation to shape choice and opportunity in the future.
Walters JP, Archer DW, Sassenrath GF,et al. Exploring agricultural production systems and their fundamental components with system dynamics modelling[J]. , 2016, 333: 51-65.
Agricultural production in the United States is undergoing marked changes due to rapid shifts in consumer demands, input costs, and concerns for food safety and environmental impact. Agricultural production systems are comprised of multidimensional components and drivers that interact in complex ways to influence production sustainability. In a mixed-methods approach, we combine qualitative and quantitative data to develop and simulate a system dynamics model that explores the systemic interaction of these drivers on the economic, environmental and social sustainability of agricultural production. We then use this model to evaluate the role of each driver in determining the differences in sustainability between three distinct production systems: crops only, livestock only, and an integrated crops and livestock system. The result from these modelling efforts found that the greatest potential for sustainability existed with the crops only production system. While this study presents a stand-alone contribution to sector knowledge and practice, it encourages future research in this sector that employs similar systems-based methods to enable more sustainable practices and policies within agricultural production.
Farmers of the Nuosu Yi ethnic group in the Upper Baiwu watershed report reductions in the availability of local forest resources. A team of interdisciplinary scientists worked in partnership with this community to assess the type and extent of social-ecological change in the watershed and to identify key drivers of those changes. Here, we combine a framework for institutional analysis with resilience concepts to assess system dynamics and interactions among resource users, resources, and institutions over the past century. The current state of this system reflects a legacy of past responses to institutional disturbances initiated at the larger, national system scale. Beginning with the Communist Revolution in 1957 and continuing through the next two decades, centralized forest regulations imposed a mismatch between the scale of management and the scale of the ecological processes being managed. A newly implemented forest property rights policy is shifting greater control over the management of forest resources to individuals in rural communities. Collective forest users will be allowed to manage commodity forests for profit through the transfer of long-term leases to private contractors. Villagers are seeking guidance on how to develop sustainable and resilient forest management practices under the new policy, a responsibility returned to them after half a century and with less abundant and fewer natural resources, a larger and aggregated population, and greater influence from external forces. We assess the watershed#8217;s current state in light of the past and identify future opportunities to strengthen local institutions for governance of forest resources.
Finkbeiner EM.The role of diversification in dynamic small-scale fisheries: Lessons from Baja California Sur, Mexico[J]. , 2015, 32: 139-152.
Globally, small-scale fisheries are critical for livelihoods and food security yet face increasing uncertainty and variability from processes such as overfishing, globalization, and climate change. Enhancing the number of options for human response through increased access to marine resources, diverse livelihood approaches, and generalist fishing strategies may attenuate the negative effects of change and disturbance. My research explores the relative importance of diversification strategies for achieving resilient small-scale fishing communities and cooperatives of Baja California Sur, Mexico. Specifically, interview data and long-term catch and economic data were used to develop an economic metric of resilience, in addition to income diversification indices, for fishing cooperatives. Fishing cooperative characteristics and environmental conditions were then evaluated as possible predictors of cooperatives鈥 relative ability to diversify. I found that while diversification was important for risk mitigation and stabilizing income, the ability of cooperatives to specialize during favorable conditions may be important for poverty reduction and wealth accumulation. Thus, the flexibility to move across fishing strategies given changing environmental conditions is important for the adaptive capacity of small-scale fishing cooperatives. My findings will contribute to a better understanding of the institutional arrangements that promote a resilient small-scale fishery, and therefore, will be invaluable for practitioners of small-scale fisheries.
NorbergJ, Cumming GS.[M]. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.
It is not uncommon today that countries worldwide are assessed or ranked using major composite social (e.g. human development index) or ecological (e.g. biodiversity index) indicators. However, until today they have not been assessed or ranked using a social-ecological status indicator. Knowledge of the status of a social-ecological system, a system that includes human and environmental subsystems interacting together, is important for socio-economic development and for natural resources and disaster management. Hence in this article, we assessed the social-ecological status of various countries around the world (c. 2010) using a composite social-ecological status indicator built upon the three pillars of sustainability (economic prosperity, social justice, and environmental quality), called the SESI (social-ecological status index). The value of the SESI ranges from 鈭1 (least desirable) to +1 (most desirable). Out of the 144 countries evaluated, 69 (47.92%) have SESI values that are below the overall average SESI value (0.197). Geographically, most of the countries with low SESI are distributed across the continents of Asia and the Americas, but especially Africa. The results can be used for conveying to the public the social-ecological status of various countries around the world, including their potential sources of social-ecological resilience and pressure.
RaschS, HeckeleiT, Oomen RJ.Reorganizing resource use in a communal livestock production socio-ecological system in South Africa[J]., 2016, 52: 221-231.
Livestock production on South Africa’s commons contributes significantly to the livelihoods of communal households, offering status, food, income and savings. Management innovations are generally top-down and informed by commercial practices such as rotational grazing in combination with conservative stocking. Implementations often ignore how the specific socio-ecological context affects outcomes and the impact on equity. Science now acknowledges that rangeland management must be context specific and that a universally agreed-upon recommendation for managing semi-arid rangelands does not exist. We present a socio-ecological simulation model derived from a case study in South Africa and use it to assess the socio-ecological effects of rotational vs. continuous grazing under conservative and opportunistic stocking rates. We find that continuous grazing under conservative stocking rates leads to the most favourable outcomes from the social and the ecological perspectives. However, the past legacy under apartheid and participants’ expectations renders its successful application unlikely because enforceability is not ensured.
SharmaD, HolmesI, Vergara-AsenjoG,et al. A comparison of influences on the landscape of two social-ecological systems[J]. , 2016, 57: 499-513.
Case studies of social-ecological landscapes that consider local, spatially explicit land cover changes are necessary for the development of generalised knowledge on deforestation. This study focussed on two indigenous territories of eastern Panama that share the same settlement history, size and location but are perceived by local dwellers to differ in terms of land cover. By considering the territories social-ecological systems made up of Resource Systems, Resource Units, Actors and Governance Structures, following Ostrom’s framework for analysing the sustainability of social-ecological systems (McGinnis and Ostrom, 2014), we sought to determine which social-ecological factors could have led to divergent land cover outcomes to address local leaders’ concerns and inform future land management strategies. We conducted quantitative, spatial analysis using ArcGIS and multivariate statistics from numerical ecology on land cover data from participatory maps, and household level socio-economic data from semi-structured interviews and surveys. Results illustrate that the Resource System’s topography and Actors’ socioeconomics, namely number of people at home and household land ownership, are constraining variables on land cover and help explain divergent forest cover. To reconstruct the influence of history and Governance Structure on the landscapes, we conducted qualitative data collection, namely participatory pebble scoring of historical land cover, interviews with key informants, an archival search, and creation of a participatory historical timeline. Historical governmental timber extraction in the region pre-settlement, guided by topography constraints, may have led to degraded Resource Units (forests) susceptible to clearing. The Governance Structure’s self-organizing, monitoring and networking activities with outside institutions in scientific projects, enabled by Actors’ leadership and social capital, likely encouraged forest conservation in the forest-rich territory. Future land management could therefore benefit from establishment of a local non-governmental organisation to coordinate a communal vision of management and harness external conservation resources. Our findings suggest that inputting both qualitative and quantitative data obtained by participatory methods into Ostrom’s framework can help diagnose territories with divergent landscapes, and thereby inform both forest conservation science and local land management.
ABSTRACT The past decade has witnessed significant growth across the globe of domestic and international initiatives designed to ameliorate both existing and potential impacts of climate change. The threat of altered environments and possibility of mass migrations of people have spurred intensive planning as well as the commitment of considerable resources to addressing such threats. Indeed, the primacy of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts and planning has become so pronounced that one might argue that this is a new and pre-eminent form of development in the international arena. As with previous developmental preoccupations such as progress, modernity, gender, microcredit, participation and good governance, climate change adaptation and mitigation is today a central part of the development mantra. In this paper I examine the ‘climate change turn’ in development work by focusing on the case of Bangladesh, a country often discussed in both scholarly literature and popular discourse as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the possible effects of climate change. Images of rising waters, flooded fields and displaced farmers in the region have become an iconic symbol deployed during debates on climate change both locally and globally. As a result Bangladesh has emerged as a laboratory of sorts in which a series of national-level strategic plans, projects, programmes, trust funds and financing schemes are being designed and tested in partnership with international donors and development agencies, all built around the idea of climate change and resilience. Looking specifically at some of the most marginalised communities in Bangladesh – such as char dwellers and slum populations – I question in this paper what impact these efforts to combat climate change may have, in particular the possibility of being displaced not by climate change but rather by development processes meant to ameliorate its effects.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is perceived as the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. In the 23 years since its founding, it has become a key framework for the exchange of scientific dialogue on climate change within the scientific community as well as across the science and policy arenas. This article provides an introduction to the IPCC (its establishment, structure, procedures, and publications) and briefly discusses the solutions proposed by the IPCC in the face of recent criticism and media scrutiny. The philosophical framework of the science/policy interface in which the IPCC functions is presented. Finally, this article concludes with a presentation of the challenges facing the IPCC in the ongoing preparation of its 5th assessment report including exploration of the entire solutions space, ensuring a comparable set of scenarios across IPCC working groups and a consistent treatment of uncertainty.
Chaudhury AS, Ventresca MJ, Thornton TF,et al. Emerging meta-organisations and adaptation to global climate change: Evidence from implementing adaptation in Nepal, Pakistan and Ghana[J]. , 2016, 38: 243-257.
As developing countries move from policy to implementing adaptation to climate change, formal operational structures are emerging that exceed the expertise of any one actor. We refer to these arrangements as ‘meta-organisations’ that comprise many autonomous component organisations tackling adaptation. The meta-organisations set standards, define purposes, and specify appropriate means-ends criteria for delivering adaptation. Using empirical data from the three cases, Nepal, Pakistan and Ghana, the study identifies and analyses six attributes of the meta and component organisational structures. We argue that organisational structures are crucial to understanding adaptation, specifying policy and implementation. Our analysis demonstrates that while each country promotes similar objectives, the emerging structures are quite distinct, shaped by country-specific attributes and issues that lead to different outcomes. Nepal’s priority for a formal process has come at the cost of delayed implementation. Pakistan’s devolved approach lacks legitimacy to scale up the process nationally. Ghana’s use of existing decentralised structures and budgets relegates adaptation below other development priorities. These divergent structures arise from the different needs for legitimacy and accountability, and the relative priority attached to adaptation against other needs.