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Meeting fundamental human needs while preserving Earth's life support systems will require an accelerated transition toward sustainability. A new field of sustainability science is emerging that seeks to understand the fundamental character of interactions between nature and society and to encourage those interactions along more sustainable trajectories. Such an integrated, place-based science will require new research strategies and institutional innovations to enable them especially in developing countries still separated by deepening divides from mainstream science.
Recent journalism and scholarship have noted a years-long decline in Americans' participation in rural forms of outdoor recreation such as hunting. While some attempt has been made to understand these declines few have analyzed the causes of these changes in a theoretically rigorous empirical manner. This study addresses this issue in two empirical approaches. First, we analyze survey data on hunting and various theoretical predictors from the General Social Survey. Second, we statistically analyze changes in hunting license acquisitions at the state level for a period of several years.
Public policies to mitigate the impacts of extreme events such as hurricanes or terrorist attacks will differ depending on whether they focus on reducing risk or reducing vulnerability. Here we present and defend six assertions aimed at exploring the benefits of vulnerability-based policies.
This paper reviews research traditions of vulnerability to environmental change and the challenges for present vulnerability research in integrating with the domains of resilience and adaptation. Vulnerability is the state of susceptibility to harm from exposure to stresses associated with environmental and social change and from the absence of capacity to adapt. Antecedent traditions include theories of vulnerability as entitlement failure and theories of hazard.
Recent years have seen a number of challenges to social stability and order, ranging from terrorist attacks and natural disasters to epidemics such as AIDS and SARS. Such challenges have generated specific policy responses, such as enhanced security at transportation hubs and planned deployment of a global tsunami detection network. However, the range of challenges and the practical impossibility of adequately addressing each in turn argue for adoption of a more comprehensive systems perspective.
The problem of fit is about the interplay between the human and ecosystem dimensions in social-ecological systems that are not just linked but truly integrated. In 1997, we were invited to produce one of three background papers related to a, at that time, new initiative called Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (IDEG), a research activity of the International Human Dimensions Program of Global Environmental Change (IHDP). The paper, which exists as a discussion paper of the IHDP, has generated considerable interest.
The human ecosystem model presented in an accompanying article in this issue (Machlis et al. 1997) has several applications. One such application is as an organizing concept in selecting social indicators for ecosystem management. This article describes a contemporary example of such an application using the Upper Columbia River Basin (UCRB). Social indicators are statistics that can be collected over time and used for policy and management. The human ecosystem model provides a rationale for selecting specific social indicators to assess socioeconomic conditions.
This paper contributes to the literature underscoring the importance of climatic variance by developing a framework for incorporating the means and tails of the distributions of rainfall and temperature into empirical models of agricultural production. The methodology is applied to estimate the impact of climate change on the discrete choice decision to adopt irrigation since it is an important adaptation to climate change.
This article summarizes current research on the design and development of an interactive, intelligent, spatial information system (IISIS) for decision support in the mitigation of, and response to, risk from hazardous materials for a university community. Appropriate uses of the IISIS prototype are expected to increase both the technical and organizational capacity to manage timely, accurate information exchange within and among organizations, thus increasing coordination in action.
Some social-ecological systems (SESs) have persisted for hundreds of years, remaining in particular configurations that have withstood a variety of natural and social disturbances. Through the analysis of a series of case studies, we begin to characterize different types of adaptations to particular types of variability and explore vulnerabilities that may emerge as a result of this adaptive process.