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Learning about social ecological trade-offs

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Diego Galafassi from Stockolm Resilience Centre led us through a really interesting reflective process to analyse how people’s understanding changed and what they learnt about trade-offs in the workshops we had conducted in our earlier ESPA project ;Participatory modelling of wellbeing trade-offs in coastal Kenya’ (other wise know as Pmowtick see here ). The photo shows Caroline Abunge from WCS leading fishers through the different scenarios and facilitating a discussion of trade-offs.

Our newly published paper explores social learning and co-production of knowledge about trafe-offs. Here is the abstract and the link to the open access article…

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.

Galafassi, D., T. M. Daw, L. Munyi, K. Brown, C. Barnaud and I. Fazey. 2017. Learning about social-ecological trade-offs. Ecology and Society 22 (1):2 [online here ]

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