• Armed conflict and fisheries in the Lake Victoria basin

      Glaser, Sarah M.; Hendrix, Cullen S.; Franck, Brittany; Wedig, Karin; Kaufman, Les; Univ Arizona, Peterson Inst Int Econ; Univ Arizona, Dept Anthropol (RESILIENCE ALLIANCE, 2019-03)
      Civil conflict is the most prevalent form of armed conflict in the world today, but this significant driver of food and income security has been largely missing from studies of fisheries. Fisheries conflict is an example of complex dynamics operating in social-ecological systems. We theorize and document the existence of such a feedback loop between conflict in Uganda and fisheries in Lake Victoria. Civil war in northern Uganda resulted in mass human population displacement, which corresponded in time with increases in fishing effort in Lake Victoria. Subsequent changes in catch of Nile perch, the dominant commercial fishery, sparked armed conflict in the lake itself, at Migingo Island, between Uganda and Kenya. From this case study, we draw seven main conclusions. First, these correlation-based relationships are illustrative but not conclusive and we call for further empirical investigation. Second, the couplings between conflict and fishing subsystems are spatially asymmetric: conflict effects are diffuse in their links to broad changes in the fishery, whereas fishery effects may produce more localized conflict events. Third, and most relevant to conflict scholars, the drivers of fishing effort and catch may originate in different subsystems, but their changes and effects must be analyzed in concert. Fourth, the complex and path-dependent impacts of conflicts on natural resources in general, and fisheries in particular, highlights the urgent need for targeted surveys and more mechanistic understanding. Fifth, the open access nature of fisheries in Lake Victoria may exacerbate instabilities not present in other systems. Sixth, the diffuse and context-specific effects of conflicts on fisheries means models of fisheries management (e.g., stock assessment) should not incorporate conflict as a driver at this time. Finally, countries and their stakeholders should focus on diversification in employment for short term coping mechanisms during conflict as a means of short-circuiting the conflict-fisheries feedback loop.
    • Balancing stability and flexibility in adaptive governance: an analysis of tools available in U.S. environmental law

      Craig, Robin Kundis; Garmestani, Ahjond S.; Allen, Craig R.; Arnold, Craig Anthony (Tony); Birgé, Hannah; DeCaro, Daniel A.; Fremier, Alexander K.; Gosnell, Hannah; Schlager, Edella; Univ Arizona, Sch Govt & Publ Policy (RESILIENCE ALLIANCE, 2017)
      Adaptive governance must work "on the ground," that is, it must operate through structures and procedures that the people it governs perceive to be legitimate and fair, as well as incorporating processes and substantive goals that are effective in allowing social-ecological systems (SESs) to adapt to climate change and other impacts. To address the continuing and accelerating alterations that climate change is bringing to SESs, adaptive governance generally will require more flexibility than prior governance institutions have often allowed. However, to function as good governance, adaptive governance must pay real attention to the problem of how to balance this increased need for flexibility with continuing governance stability so that it can foster adaptation to change without being perceived or experienced as perpetually destabilizing, disruptive, and unfair. Flexibility and stability serve different purposes in governance, and a variety of tools exist to strike different balances between them while still preserving the governance institution's legitimacy among the people governed. After reviewing those purposes and the implications of climate change for environmental governance, we examine psychological insights into the structuring of adaptive governance and the variety of legal tools available to incorporate those insights into adaptive governance regimes. Because the substantive goals of governance systems will differ among specific systems, we do not purport to comment on what the normative or substantive goals of law should be. Instead, we conclude that attention to process and procedure (including participation), as well as increased use of substantive standards (instead of rules), may allow an increased level of substantive flexibility to operate with legitimacy and fairness, providing the requisite levels of psychological, social, and economic stability needed for communities to adapt successfully to the Anthropocene.
    • Developing a sustainability science approach for water systems

      Brelsford, Christa; Dumas, Marion; Schlager, Edella; Dermody, Brian J.; Aiuvalasit, Michael; Allen-Dumas, Melissa R.; Beecher, Janice; Bhatia, Udit; D'Odorico, Paolo; Garcia, Margaret; et al. (RESILIENCE ALLIANCE, 2020-06)
      We convened a workshop to enable scientists who study water systems from both social science and physical science perspectives to develop a shared language. This shared language is necessary to bridge a divide between these disciplines' different conceptual frameworks. As a result of this workshop, we argue that we should view socio-hydrological systems as structurally coconstituted of social, engineered, and natural elements and study the "characteristic management challenges" that emerge from this structure and reoccur across time, space, and socioeconomic contexts. This approach is in contrast to theories that view these systems as separately conceptualized natural and social domains connected by bi-directional feedbacks, as is prevalent in much of the water systems research arising from the physical sciences. A focus on emergent characteristic management challenges encourages us to go beyond searching for evidence of feedbacks and instead ask questions such as: What types of innovations have successfully been used to address these challenges? What structural components of the system affect its resilience to hydrological events and through what mechanisms? Are there differences between successful and unsuccessful strategies to solve one of the characteristic management challenges? If so, how are these differences affected by institutional structure and ecological and economic contexts? To answer these questions, social processes must now take center stage in the study and practice of water management. We also argue that water systems are an important class of coupled systems with relevance for sustainability science because they are particularly amenable to the kinds of systematic comparisons that allow knowledge to accumulate. Indeed, the characteristic management challenges we identify are few in number and recur over most of human history and in most geographical locations. This recurrence should allow us to accumulate knowledge to answer the above questions by studying the long historical record of institutional innovations to manage water systems.
    • Legal and institutional foundations of adaptive environmental governance

      DeCaro, Daniel A.; Chaffin, Brian C.; Schlager, Edella; Garmestani, Ahjond S.; Ruhl, J.B.; Univ Arizona, Sch Govt & Publ Policy (RESILIENCE ALLIANCE, 2017)
      Legal and institutional structures fundamentally shape opportunities for adaptive governance of environmental resources at multiple ecological and societal scales. Properties of adaptive governance are widely studied. However, these studies have not resulted in consolidated frameworks for legal and institutional design, limiting our ability to promote adaptation and social-ecological resilience. We develop an overarching framework that describes the current and potential role of law in enabling adaptation. We apply this framework to different social-ecological settings, centers of activity, and scales, illustrating the multidimensional and polycentric nature of water governance. Adaptation typically emerges organically among multiple centers of agency and authority in society as a relatively self-organized or autonomous process marked by innovation, social learning, and political deliberation. This self-directed and emergent process is difficult to create in an exogenous, top-down fashion. However, traditional centers of authority may establish enabling conditions for adaptation using a suite of legal, economic, and democratic tools to legitimize and facilitate self-organization, coordination, and collaboration across scales. The principles outlined here provide preliminary legal and institutional foundations for adaptive environmental governance, which may inform institutional design and guide future scholarship.
    • Operationalizing the telecoupling framework for migratory species using the spatial subsidies approach to examine ecosystem services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats

      López-Hoffman, Laura; Diffendorfer, Jay; Wiederholt, Ruscena; Bagstad, Kenneth J.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; McCracken, Gary; Medellin, Rodrigo L.; Russell, Amy; Semmens, Darius J.; Univ Arizona, Sch Nat Resources & Environm; et al. (RESILIENCE ALLIANCE, 2017)
      Drivers of environmental change in one location can have profound effects on ecosystem services and human well-being in distant locations, often across international borders. The telecoupling provides a conceptual framework for describing these interactions-for example, locations can be defined as sending areas (sources of flows of ecosystem services, energy, or information) or receiving areas (recipients of flows). However, the ability to quantify feedbacks between ecosystem change in one area and societal benefits in other areas requires analytical approaches. We use spatial subsidies-an approach developed to measure the degree to which a migratory species' ability to provide services in one location depends on habitat in another location-as an example of how telecoupling can be operationalized. Using the cotton pest control and ecotourism services of Mexican free-tailed bats as an example, we determined that of the 16 states in the United States and Mexico where the species resides, three states (Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado) are receiving areas, while the rest of the states are sending areas. In addition, the magnitude of spatial subsidy can be used as an indicator of the degree to which different locations are telecoupled to other locations. In this example, the Mexican free-tailed bat ecosystem services to cotton production and ecotourism in Texas and New Mexico are heavily dependent on winter habitat in four states in central and southern Mexico. In sum, spatial subsidies can be used to operationalize the telecoupling conceptual framework by identifying sending and receiving areas, and by indicating the degree to which locations are telecoupled to other locations.
    • Regime shifts and panarchies in regional scale social-ecological water systems

      Gunderson, Lance; Cosens, Barbara A.; Chaffin, Brian C.; Arnold, Craig A. (Tom); Fremier, Alexander K.; Garmestani, Ahjond S.; Craig, Robin Kundis; Gosnell, Hannah; Birge, Hannah E.; Allen, Craig R.; et al. (RESILIENCE ALLIANCE, 2017)
      In this article we summarize histories of nonlinear, complex interactions among societal, legal, and ecosystem dynamics in six North American water basins, as they respond to changing climate. These case studies were chosen to explore the conditions for emergence of adaptive governance in heavily regulated and developed social-ecological systems nested within a hierarchical governmental system. We summarize resilience assessments conducted in each system to provide a synthesis and reference by the other articles in this special feature. We also present a general framework used to evaluate the interactions between society and ecosystem regimes and the governance regimes chosen to mediate those interactions. The case studies show different ways that adaptive governance may be triggered, facilitated, or constrained by ecological and/or legal processes. The resilience assessments indicate that complex interactions among the governance and ecosystem components of these systems can produce different trajectories, which include patterns of (a) development and stabilization, (b) cycles of crisis and recovery, which includes lurches in adaptation and learning, and (3) periods of innovation, novelty, and transformation. Exploration of cross scale (Panarchy) interactions among levels and sectors of government and society illustrate that they may constrain development trajectories, but may also provide stability during crisis or innovation at smaller scales; create crises, but may also facilitate recovery; and constrain system transformation, but may also provide windows of opportunity in which transformation, and the resources to accomplish it, may occur. The framework is the starting point for our exploration of how law might play a role in enhancing the capacity of social-ecological systems to adapt to climate change.
    • The role of law in adaptive governance

      Cosens, Barbara A.; Craig, Robin K.; Hirsch, Shana Lee; Arnold, Craig Anthony (Tony); Benson, Melinda H.; DeCaro, Daniel A.; Garmestani, Ahjond S.; Gosnell, Hannah; Ruhl, J.B.; Schlager, Edella; et al. (RESILIENCE ALLIANCE, 2017)
      The term "governance" encompasses both governmental and nongovernmental participation in collective choice and action. Law dictates the structure, boundaries, rules, and processes within which governmental action takes place, and in doing so becomes one of the focal points for analysis of barriers to adaptation as the effects of climate change are felt. Adaptive governance must therefore contemplate a level of flexibility and evolution in governmental action beyond that currently found in the heavily administrative governments of many democracies. Nevertheless, over time, law itself has proven highly adaptive in western systems of government, evolving to address and even facilitate the emergence of new social norms (such as the rights of women and minorities) or to provide remedies for emerging problems (such as pollution). Thus, there is no question that law can adapt, evolve, and be reformed to make room for adaptive governance. In doing this, not only may barriers be removed, but law may be adjusted to facilitate adaptive governance and to aid in institutionalizing new and emerging approaches to governance. The key is to do so in a way that also enhances legitimacy, accountability, and justice, or else such reforms will never be adopted by democratic societies, or if adopted, will destabilize those societies. By identifying those aspects of the frameworks for adaptive governance reviewed in the introduction to this special feature relevant to the legal system, we present guidelines for evaluating the role of law in environmental governance to identify the ways in which law can be used, adapted, and reformed to facilitate adaptive governance and to do so in a way that enhances the legitimacy of governmental action.