How social changes affect community robustness more than resource depletion
Understanding human- environmental interactions and feedbacks is a key challenge in today fast pacing world where climate is dramatically changing and profound socio-economic transformations are ongoing. While these changes affect the humankind, they have more severe effects on those communities that combine market-based activities with subsistence activities (i.e. hunting, fishing, and gathering). These communities are characterized by strong human-environment interdependencies (i.e., social-ecological networks) which play a key role in improving food security and health, as well as in increase group cohesion. These distinctive characteristics augment the flexibility in resource access via redistribution, especially in times of scarcity and change.
However, characterizing and analyzing social-ecological network is not an easy task. The lack of data and methodological tools has slowed down our understanding of these networks and how they affect community robustness in face of change.
Recent methodological advances, grounded on multilayer network science, allow for a better representation of empirical networks, from biological to socio-technical systems, including social-ecological networks. This novel mathematical framework accounts for the multiple types of interactions (or relationships) among real-world entities, such as humans and species. Each distinct set of relationships is encoded by a “layer” and represented as a network. The set of all layers provides a multilayer network representation of the intricate web of interdependencies that exist within and between the social and the ecological domain.
Our research capitalizes on these methodological advances and high quality data – collected in three different northern Alaska villages characterized by mixed subsistence-cash economy – to assess the robustness of social-ecological networks to future plausible scenarios. For example, is community connectedness affected by climatic changes affecting influencing species abundance and distribution? How is community connectedness affected by shifts in cultural practices related to sharing and cooperation due to increased access to the job market or due to migration of key households and natural demographic changes?
To answer these questions, we build three different multilayer networks in which each node represents a household and edges represent specific social relation paired with specific species. More precisely, household can cooperate, share or contribute food and non-food resources to other households. Cooperation, sharing or contributions can be limited to specific species (i.e. whaling, caribou, salmon, moose etc.) or encompass multiple species. Each unique combination of social relation and resource (represents a layer of the multilayer network: cooperatively hunting caribou, sharing caribou, sharing moose are all different layers of a community’s multilayer network. The resulting network representation is weighted by the intensity of such interactions and accounts for non-reciprocal relationships. In fact, the data encode the actual flow of resources in lbs of meat from one household to another.
This resulting social-ecological multilayer network allows us to assess how plausible future scenarios of change may affect the robustness of the three Alaskian communities studied.
Jacopo Baggio 1, Manlio De Domenico 2
1Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University Logan, UT, USA
2Departament d’Enginyeria Informàtica i Matemàtiques, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
Multiplex social ecological network analysis reveals how social changes affect community robustness more than resource depletion.
Baggio JA, BurnSilver SB, Arenas A, Magdanz JS, Kofinas GP, De Domenico M
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Nov 29
|Good governance for migratory fish stocks As the oceans warm in response to continued greenhouse gas emissions, fish are moving to seek out their preferred environmental conditions. These shifts in distribution are changing the locations of…|
|Interactive/combined effects of climate change and… Both climate change and pollutants are a global problem and a major threat to social, economic, and environmental sectors. Climate change stressors are rise in temperatures, ocean acidification (decrease in…|
|Global climate change and mental health In the past decade, several empirical studies and systematic reviews of the literature have documented the mental health impacts of global climate change. However, the range of impacts and their…|
|Social-economic factors predict state differences in opioid… Media accounts of the opioid overdose epidemic emphasize the role of prescription drugs and, to a lesser extent, declining economic and social conditions. In support of the journalists’ accounts, opioid…|
|The complex regulation and functional significance of size… Across animals, variation in body size is often influenced by environmental conditions and is considered to have adaptive value. In bees, in which many species show various degrees of sociality,…|
|Soil and water bioengineering – Sustainable erosion… Accelerated soil erosion and loss is a serious environmental problem, particularly for the Mediterranean region, due to its long history of human pressures, seasonally contrasting climate and rugged topography. Anthropogenic…|
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.