Action-orientated research and framework: insights from the French longterm social-ecological resear

Bretagnolle, V., M. Benoit, M. Bonnefond, V. Breton, J. M. Church, S. Gaba, D. Gilbert, F. Gillet, S. Glatron, C. Guerbois, N. Lamouroux, M. Lebouvier, C. Mazé, J.-M. Mouchel, A. Ouin, O. Pays, C. Piscart, O. Ragueneau, S. Servain, T. Spiegelberger, and H. Fritz. Fritz. 2019. Action-orientated research and framework: insights from the French long-term social-ecological research network. Ecology and Society 24(3):10.

Many social-ecological system(SES)-based approaches have been proposed to address environmental problems. Most social-ecological frameworks developed to date, however, lack clear operational linkages between humans and nature to efficiently guide SESs toward resilience. A conceptual framework designed to be operational is therefore necessary, as well as a network of research platforms with which to apply it. We defined explicit coupling processes that can be used as leverages to pilot an SES toward sustainability. We proposed to formalize an SES as a dynamic entity composed of two coupling interfaces, i.e., adaptive management and ecosystem services, both set within a landscape context to provide an actionable framework. These interfaces describe the way various actors, including scholars, benefit from and manage complex and changing interactions between the biophysical and social templates. Understanding the key processes underlying the interaction dynamics, especially those leveraging adaptive management processes, would help identify adaptive pathways for practices and collective actions, provide a crucial knowledge base for policy makers, and foster operationality as a requisite of an SES research agenda. Using several examples, we explained why long-term social-ecological research platforms provide an ideal operational network of research infrastructures to conduct place-based action-orientated research targeting the sustainability of SESs.

Key Words: adaptive governance; ecosystem services; landscape; LTER; management; practices; research infrastructure; social-ecological systems; sustainability

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