Presentation Abstract

Ecology benefits from integrated, interdisciplinary collaborations. However, most collaboration exists within natural science disciplines. Expanding these collaborations to disciplines outside the natural sciences enhances both ecology as well as other engaged disciplines. Our work suggests that ecosystem based research needs to be grounded in social science frameworks, in order to better address the complexities of resource management in urbanized and urbanizing systems. The Washington portion of the Salish Sea is home to over 3.5 million people. The anthropogenic pressures are substantial, as are the complexities of managing them. This complexity challenges conventional ecology-centric management approaches, and this limitation can be reduced when sociological factors are incorporated. In our study we sought to garner collaborative insights generated by linking a social survey to landscape ecology. The survey identified normative influences in social interactions in the Puget Sound basin by posing a series of questions regarding individual views on the local environment and the desirability of a range of potential ecosystem conditions within Puget Sound. We tried to identify the relationship between an urban development trajectory and people’s views on environmental problems and possible policy solutions. We mapped the survey data to US zip code regions and spatially overlaid the survey response data with existing geospatial data layers of biophysical conditions. We found relationships between people’s responses and the conditions within their residence zip code, which alters our interpretation of both the sociological and ecological data. Interdisciplinary collaboration across conventional disciplinary boundaries is at the center of this socio-ecological effort to improve environmental restoration efforts and decision-making in the Puget Sound. Because restoration goals for various aspects of the Puget Sound ecosystem are often products of biophysical analyses combined with the sociopolitical expressions of stakeholders and managers, robust research around restoration must include both a developed understanding of the local landscape ecology and an informed analysis of Salish Sea-specific societal perceptions and values.

Session Title

Session S-02H: Integrating the Social and Natural Sciences for Decision Making

Conference Track

Social Science Plus

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2014 : Seattle, Wash.)

Document Type

Event

Start Date

30-4-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

30-4-2014 3:00 PM

Location

Room 607

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 30th, 1:30 PM Apr 30th, 3:00 PM

Mapping Coupled Social-Ecological Systems in Puget Sound: Lessons from Paired Social and Biophysical Data

Room 607

Ecology benefits from integrated, interdisciplinary collaborations. However, most collaboration exists within natural science disciplines. Expanding these collaborations to disciplines outside the natural sciences enhances both ecology as well as other engaged disciplines. Our work suggests that ecosystem based research needs to be grounded in social science frameworks, in order to better address the complexities of resource management in urbanized and urbanizing systems. The Washington portion of the Salish Sea is home to over 3.5 million people. The anthropogenic pressures are substantial, as are the complexities of managing them. This complexity challenges conventional ecology-centric management approaches, and this limitation can be reduced when sociological factors are incorporated. In our study we sought to garner collaborative insights generated by linking a social survey to landscape ecology. The survey identified normative influences in social interactions in the Puget Sound basin by posing a series of questions regarding individual views on the local environment and the desirability of a range of potential ecosystem conditions within Puget Sound. We tried to identify the relationship between an urban development trajectory and people’s views on environmental problems and possible policy solutions. We mapped the survey data to US zip code regions and spatially overlaid the survey response data with existing geospatial data layers of biophysical conditions. We found relationships between people’s responses and the conditions within their residence zip code, which alters our interpretation of both the sociological and ecological data. Interdisciplinary collaboration across conventional disciplinary boundaries is at the center of this socio-ecological effort to improve environmental restoration efforts and decision-making in the Puget Sound. Because restoration goals for various aspects of the Puget Sound ecosystem are often products of biophysical analyses combined with the sociopolitical expressions of stakeholders and managers, robust research around restoration must include both a developed understanding of the local landscape ecology and an informed analysis of Salish Sea-specific societal perceptions and values.