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Social-ecological network approaches in interdisciplinary research: A response to Bohan et al. and Dee et al.

Bodin, O., M.L. Barnes, R.R.J. McAllister, J.C. Rocha and A.M. Guerrero. 2017. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (8):547-549


In two recent articles, Bohan et al. [ 1 ] and Dee et al. [ 2 ] develop conceptual arguments for the benefits of applying an interdisciplinary social–ecological network approach to the study of human–nature systems in general, and ecosystem services in particular. We agree. Network approaches can account for the interdependencies between complex human and ecological dynamics that underpin many important environmental problems (e.g., [ 3 ]). As such, their use has been advocated by several others as a fruitful way to bridge across the natural and social sciences in the development of new theories, frameworks, and tools for environmental problem-solving [ 4 ]. We emphasize here that conceptual thinking around social–ecological network sciences is now sufficiently mature to extend beyond the conceptual and look across disciplines to further develop actionable interdisciplinary research. To demonstrate this, we showcase a selection of past efforts and highlight an integrated social–ecological network approach that has already been applied empirically across a range of human–nature contexts. This is intended not only to complement Bohan et al. [ 1 ] and Dee et al. [ 2 ] but also to serve as a call for research on social–ecological networks to connect more with the existing interdisciplinary literature in the field.

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Keywords: social–ecological networks,interdisciplinary research

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