Towards a framework for the observation, understanding, and management of socio-ecological systems: Insights from socio-ecological, institutional, and complexity theory.

Germán Ignacio Andrade Pérez, Angela María Espinoza Salazar, Arley David Guzmán Vásquez, Eduardo Wills Herrera


Studies about human vulnerabilities to global socio-ecological changes abound; there is precise information on the risks that need to be urgently addressed to prevent major crises. In Latin America, the Andean region has been signaled as one with major risks. Nevertheless, current methodologies for observation, understanding, and management of socio-ecological systems are incomplete and insufficient, since these are developed without exchange and conversation between various relevant theoretical fields. Based upon a multi-paradigmatic approach, the aim of the paper is to set up the basis for an integral methodology for supporting self-management of socio-ecological systems by its key actors, mostly inspired in contributions from socio-ecological, institutional, and complexity theories. The article: 1) integrates the fields in discussion building a framework to observe and understand the phenomenon; 2) discuss the bases for a methodology to support communities from vulnerable SES to self–organise and agree on strategic actions and responsibilities; 3) develops a preliminary empirical analysis from a Colombian case study, highlighting the questions derived from this analysis. It happens in the context of the Fuquene Lake socio-ecological system, placed on Colombian Andean Eco-region.


Socio-Ecological Systems, Resilience – thinking, Global Environmental Change, Adaptive Management, Implementation Misfits, Viable Systems, Social Networks, Institutional Theory.

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