Achieving the promise of integration in social-ecological research: A review and prospectus

Guerrero, A, Bennett, N, Wilson, K, Selinske, M and Bekessy, S., et al, 2018, 'Achieving the promise of integration in social-ecological research: A review and prospectus', Ecology and Society, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 1-27.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Achieving the promise of integration in social-ecological research: A review and prospectus
Author(s) Guerrero, A
Bennett, N
Wilson, K
Selinske, M
Bekessy, S., et al,
Year 2018
Journal name Ecology and Society
Volume number 23
Issue number 3
Start page 1
End page 27
Total pages 27
Publisher Resilience Alliance Publications
Abstract An integrated understanding of both social and ecological aspects of environmental issues is essential to address pressing sustainability challenges. An integrated social-ecological systems perspective is purported to provide a better understanding of the complex relationships between humans and nature. Despite a threefold increase in the amount of social-ecological research published between 2010 and 2015, it is unclear whether these approaches have been truly integrative. We conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the conceptual, methodological, disciplinary, and functional aspects of social-ecological integration. In general, we found that overall integration is still lacking in social-ecological research. Some social variables deemed important for addressing sustainability challenges are underrepresented in social-ecological studies, e.g., culture, politics, and power. Disciplines such as ecology, urban studies, and geography are better integrated than others, e.g., sociology, biology, and public administration. In addition to ecology and urban studies, biodiversity conservation plays a key brokerage role in integrating other disciplines into social-ecological research. Studies founded on systems theory have the highest rates of integration. Highly integrative studies combine different types of tools, involve stakeholders at appropriate stages, and tend to deliver practical recommendations. Better social-ecological integration must underpin sustainability science. To achieve this potential, future social-ecological research will require greater attention to the following: the interdisciplinary composition of project teams, strategic stakeholder involvement, application of multiple tools, incorporation of both social and ecological variables, consideration of bidirectional relationships between variables, and identification of implications and articulation of clear policy recommendations.
Subject Ecology not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Human-environment systems
Social-ecological systems
Stakeholder participation
Sustainability science
DOI - identifier 10.5751/ES-10232-230338
Copyright notice Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Public License
ISSN 1708-3087
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Altmetric details:
Access Statistics: 27 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Thu, 27 Jun 2019, 10:20:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
© 2014 RMIT Research Repository • Powered by Fez SoftwareContact us