Learning about social-ecological trade-offs
Ecology and Society
Copyright © 2017 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.
Trade-offs are manifestations of the complex dynamics in interdependent social-ecological systems. Addressing trade-offs involves challenges of perception due to the dynamics of interdependence. We outline the challenges associated with addressing trade-offs and analyze knowledge coproduction as a practice that may contribute to tackling trade-offs in social-ecological systems. We discuss this through a case study in coastal Kenya in which an iterative knowledge coproduction process was facilitated to reveal social-ecological trade-offs in the face of ecological and socioeconomic change. Representatives of communities, government, and NGOs attended two integrative workshops in which methods derived from systems thinking, dialogue, participatory modeling, and scenarios were applied to encourage participants to engage and evaluate trade-offs. Based on process observation and interviews with participants and scientists, our analysis suggests that this process lead to increased appreciation of interdependences and the way in which trade-offs emerge from complex dynamics of interdependent factors. The process seemed to provoke a reflection of knowledge assumptions and narratives, and management goals for the social-ecological system. We also discuss how stakeholders link these insights to their practices.
The primary and secondary stakeholders of the Nyali Beach fishery in focus groups and workshops is gratefully acknowledged. Arthur Tuda, Sheila Heymans, Allister McGregor, and Raphaël Mathevet advised on the design of the project. This paper is a result of the project "Participatory Modelling Frameworks to Understand Well-being Trade-offs in Coastal Ecosystem Services" (P-mowtick) funded by the Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) program (ref number: NE/I00324X/1) and received further support from K. Brown's ESRC Professorial Fellowship (RES-051-27-0263). The ESPA program is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Diego Galafassi also acknowledges the support of the Strategic Research Program EkoKlim at Stockholm University through the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).
This is the final version of the article. Available from Resilience Alliance via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 22, Iss. 1, Art. No. 2.