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*Session title*: *Network Approaches for Studying Social-Ecological Systems*

*Organizers*: Michele L Barnes (James Cook University), Lorien Jasny
(University of Exeter), Jesse Sayles (US Environmental Protection Agency),
and Matt Hamilton (Ohio State University)

*Session Description*: Humans and ecosystems are fundamentally linked:
humans rely on ecosystem goods and services to support human well-being,
and human behavior affects ecosystems through actions such as resource use
and environmental management. Solving environmental problems requires a
deep understanding of these social-ecological linkages; yet, these
relationships are difficult to study empirically because they are complex
and occur across time, space, and multiple levels of both societal and
ecological organization. Network approaches offer a promising way forward,
offering theories, tools, and frameworks that can help to identify
multilevel and dynamic relationships that are important for driving
social-ecological system behavior. The purpose of this session is to bring
together recent theoretical and empirical insights from research on
social-ecological network approaches – defined here as a broad array of
network approaches applied to, or informed by, studying coupled
social-ecological systems -- to draw attention to critical gaps and
highlight future potential. Drawing on a variety of examples from both
terrestrial and marine systems, this session will demonstrate the
theoretical and empirical utility of network approaches for understanding
multi-level environmental governance systems, social-ecological system
dynamics, and social and ecological outcomes. Presenters will also be asked
to (1) reflect on current limitations in operationalizing and analyzing
social-ecological networks and potential solutions for addressing these
challenges in future research, and (2) briefly discuss key gaps in our
theoretical understanding of social-ecological network dynamics and the
future potential of social-ecological network approaches for environmental
problem solving.

*Abstracts can be submitted at *
February 1, 2019.*

Michele L. Barnes
Research Fellow, People and Ecosystems Program
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University

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