Monday, February 29, 2016

Social media as a new playing field for the governance of agro-food sustainability

Tim Stevens has published his first paper as part of his PhD project in the Informational Governance programme at Wageningen University!
Social media as a new playing field for the governance of agro-food sustainability
The paper is based on a literature review and puts forward three different patterns in social media activities in relation to the governance of agro-food sustainability. It has been published in the first 2016 issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

This is the abstract:

Social media bring various stakeholders of the agro-food system together into a new playing field. This article reveals the dynamics of this playing field and the ways in which this can influence the governance of agro-food sustainability. We delineate three pathways that highlight the ways in which social media can have implications for the governance of agro-food sustainability; firstly, hypes on agro-food sustainability issues, secondly, opportunities for the self-organization of food movements, and thirdly, data for new forms of agro-food governance. We conclude that while mass self-communication on social media forms an emergent force that disrupts agro-food governance, it also generates data that forms a resource for powerful players to regain control.

This is the full reference: Stevens, T., Aarts, N., Termeer, C. J. A. M., & Dewulf, A. (2016). Social media as a new playing field for the governance of agro-food sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 18, 99–106. doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2015.11.010

The paper can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2015.11.010 or downloaded here

Citizen Science for Water Resources Management: Toward Polycentric Monitoring and Governance?

A position paper has been published recently in the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, entitled "Citizen Science for Water Resources Management: Toward Polycentric Monitoring and Governance?". The author team reflects the collaboration through the Mountain-EVO project.

The paper develops ideas about polycentric governance of water resources, supported by a polycentric monitoring landscape, as an alternative to tightly integrated and centralized water management systems.



The full reference is Buytaert, W., Dewulf, A., De Bièvre, B., Clark, J., & Hannah, D. M. (2016). Citizen Science for Water Resources Management: Toward Polycentric Monitoring and Governance? Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 01816002. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000641

The paper can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000641 or downloaded here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Understanding industrial symbiosis from a change perspective

In the first issue of the International Journal of Sustainable Development of 2016, a paper has been published by Veerle Verguts on "Industrial symbiosis as sustainable development strategy: adding a change perspective".

This is the abstract:
Industrial symbiosis (IS) is the coordination of energy and material flows among geographically proximate firms to increase economic performance while reducing environmental impact. Although IS is gaining popularity as a sustainability strategy, implementation is proving difficult. In an attempt to understand these roadblocks to implementation, we analyse the development and realisation of IS systems as complex change processes. Based on insights from organisational change literature we introduce the dual-perspective framework as an additional way to look at these IS change processes. Our framework combines two different but complementary perspectives to analyse IS: episodic change, meaning occasional and radical change driven by exogenous factors or interventions; and continuous change, meaning ongoing changes resulting from constant micro-adaptations. By adding insights on the nature of change, this framework extends the analytical reach and identifies situation-adapted intervention strategies. The framework is applied to a case of Flemish (Belgian) eco-industrial greenhouse park development.
The paper can found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJSD.2016.073650 or downloaded here



Verguts, V., Dessein, J., Dewulf, A., Lauwers, L., Werkman, R., & Termeer, C. J. A. M. (2016). Industrial symbiosis as sustainable development strategy: adding a change perspective. International Journal of Sustainable Development, 19(1), 15. doi:10.1504/IJSD.2016.073650

Monday, January 25, 2016

Framing ecosystem services at the landscape scale: two publications from the ECOMPRIS project

As part of strategic research programme of Wageningen University on Informational Governance for Sustainability, several research projects are on-going. I'm involved in the interdisciplinary ECOMPRIS project that has come to an end in December 2015. Two more publications have resulted from this project.

Framing ecosystem services: Affecting behaviour of actors in collaborative landscape planning?

Land Use Policy, 46 (2015) 223-231

Paul Opdam, Ingrid Coninx, Art Dewulf, Eveliene Steingröver, Claire Vos, Merel van der Wal

The concept of ecosystem services shifts the human–nature relationship from a conservation-oriented into a utility-oriented one. Advocates of the concept assume that it can alter the attitude and behaviour of human actors with respect to nature. The ecosystem services concept has so far received little attention in scientific literature about collaborative landscape planning. Consequently the potential of information about ecosystem services to influence landscape planning processes is unknown. In this paper we address the impact of different storylines about ecosystem services on actor behaviour. In these storylines, we distinguish three frames on ecosystem services: a social–cultural frame (emphasizing social–cultural services), an economic frame (emphasizing production services) and a sustainability frame (highlighting regulation services). We propose a conceptual framework in which we connect the concept of framing to attitudinal, sender–receiver and contextual factors. The framework is illustrated by a spatial planning experiment with academic students and by a case of collaborative landscape planning. The student exper- iment illustrates how attitudinal factors may intervene in the impact frames on actor behaviour. The case analysis shows how researchers who facilitated collaborative landscape planning used various frames as they attempted to build up the actor network to create collaborative relations in different phases of the planning process. The significance of our paper is that we provide an approach to investigate how information on ecosystem service benefits is processed by multiple actors in collaborative landscape planning processes. Our exploration implies that planners who facilitate a collaborative planning pro- cess have to be aware that purposively using ecosystem service frames stimulates engagement of actors with diverging backgrounds

This publication can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.02.008 or downloaded here

Does information on landscape benefits influence collective action in landscape governance?

Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 18 (2016), 107-114

Paul Opdam, Ingrid Coninx, Art Dewulf, Eveliene Steingröver, Claire Vos, Merel van der Wal

There is general understanding that collaboration is a key element in the governance for a sustainable environment. In this context knowledge utilization has become a popular research topic. However, the role of information content in enhancing collaboration has been rarely addressed. We consider two types of information on mutual dependencies between actors that result from ecological interdependencies in the landscape: information on landscape sites providing multiple benefits to a range of stakeholders, and information on how these benefits depend on coordinated landscape–level management. Our survey of recent literature indicates that although there is a sound theoretical basis for the assumption that such information would enhance collaboration, the issue has been the subject of little empirical research thus far. We found some supporting studies demonstrating social network building and collective action, but none of them separated the effect of the information content from the effect of the organized social learning process. To increase understanding of the potential for informational governance of landscapes resources, we argue there is a need to integrate recent advances in the analysis of social network building in environmental management with emerging insights in knowledge utilization and spatial interdependencies of landscape benefits.

This publication can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2015.12.006 or downloaded here

Thursday, November 26, 2015

What does policy-relevant global environmental knowledge do? The cases of climate and biodiversity

A paper by Esther Turnhout (Wageningen University), Mike Hulme (King's College London) and myself has been published on-line in the journal Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability.

What does policy-relevant global environmental knowledge do? The cases of climate and biodiversity

There is a surge in global knowledge-making efforts to inform environmental governance. This article synthesises the current state of the art of social science scholarship about the generation and use of global environmental knowledge. We focus specifically on the issues of scale — providing globalized representations of the environment — and relevance — providing knowledge in a form that is considered usable for decision-making. Using the examples of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Millennium Assessment, the article discusses what policy relevant global knowledge does: how it represents the environment, and how this specific form of knowledge connects with governance and
policy.

The paper can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2015.09.004 or downloaded here