Adaptive management of social-ecological systems: a review from Social Network approach

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Thiago Sabatinelli Rodrigues
Gisela Aguilar Benítez


Context: The social ecological systems (SES), characterised by intertwined relations between humans and nature, have been studied by researchers from different disciplines in the last 20 years. The concept of SES has been used to explain resilience in the face of change, including ecosystem regime shifts, climate change, disturbances and stresses over agricultural systems.

Objective: This paper is a literature review of the contributions of Social Network Theory for the study of adaptive management of social-ecological systems, which is influenced by capacities of the social subsystem, such as learning, innovation and collaboration.

Methods: A research for peer-reviewed articles was carried out, totalling 46 scientific articles using the social network approaches for the analysis adaptive management. A complementary review of the main concepts discussed was also conducted.

Results: This paper presents the most relevant structural characteristics of social networks to explain systems’ capacity to self-organisein order to adapt to crises and change. Individuals and institutions play different roles in co-management and governance processes, which is reflected in decision-making capacity, leadership and cooperation.

Conclusions: The structural features of social networks are associated with adaptive capacity of socio-ecological systems. The adaptive approach allows social groups and institutions to improve resilience in different management systems. The existence of polycentric structures, with well-connected nodes, indicates the heterogeneity necessary for experimentation and innovation, which can be ensured with adequate network coordination.

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Sabatinelli Rodrigues, T., & Aguilar Benítez, G. (2019). Adaptive management of social-ecological systems: a review from Social Network approach. Agrisost, 25(3), 1-9. Recuperado a partir de
Redes sociales en la agricultura


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