Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Integrating Social Science into Ecosystem-Based Management

Description

The wellness of people and nature are interdependent, and thus the notion of human wellbeing has taken root in conservation science. But what exactly is human wellbeing, how is it coupled with environmental change, and how might it be conceptualized for ecosystem assessments? This paper introduces a comprehensive, structured and transparent conceptual framework of human wellbeing designed to guide the development and analysis of indicators for ecosystem-based management. We define human wellbeing as a state of being with others and the environment, which arises when human needs are met, when individuals and communities can act meaningfully to pursue their goals, and when individuals and communities enjoy a satisfactory quality of life. We propose four major social science-based constituents of wellbeing: connections, capabilities, conditions, and cross-cutting domains. The latter includes the domains of equity and justice, security, resilience, and sustainability, which may be assessed through cross-cutting analyses of other constituents. To operationalize the framework, we outline a process for identifying policy-relevant attributes of wellbeing that can guide ecosystem assessments, and discuss issues regarding context, feasibility, indicators and data, and social difference. Developed for the US West coast, the framework may be adapted for other regions and scales, such as the Salish Sea, with appropriate modifications. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a tool to better link conservation strategies to interrelated improvements in human wellbeing.

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Conceptualizing and Operationalizing Human Wellbeing for Ecosystem-Based Management

2016SSEC

The wellness of people and nature are interdependent, and thus the notion of human wellbeing has taken root in conservation science. But what exactly is human wellbeing, how is it coupled with environmental change, and how might it be conceptualized for ecosystem assessments? This paper introduces a comprehensive, structured and transparent conceptual framework of human wellbeing designed to guide the development and analysis of indicators for ecosystem-based management. We define human wellbeing as a state of being with others and the environment, which arises when human needs are met, when individuals and communities can act meaningfully to pursue their goals, and when individuals and communities enjoy a satisfactory quality of life. We propose four major social science-based constituents of wellbeing: connections, capabilities, conditions, and cross-cutting domains. The latter includes the domains of equity and justice, security, resilience, and sustainability, which may be assessed through cross-cutting analyses of other constituents. To operationalize the framework, we outline a process for identifying policy-relevant attributes of wellbeing that can guide ecosystem assessments, and discuss issues regarding context, feasibility, indicators and data, and social difference. Developed for the US West coast, the framework may be adapted for other regions and scales, such as the Salish Sea, with appropriate modifications. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a tool to better link conservation strategies to interrelated improvements in human wellbeing.