Presentation Abstract

The Puget Sound Basin is surrounded by human settlements that range from small resource-dependent communities, to metropolitan areas that are experiencing rapid population growth. Scientific studies in the biophysical disciplines have documented the Puget Sound's ecological decline, established baseline conditions for recovery, and identified human-based sources of ecosystem impacts. The Puget Sound region is a complex socio-ecological system thus making equal attention to human dimensions an important goal, even a necessity. Social scientists across a variety of disciplines (such as economics, geography, anthropology, sociology, and psychology) can contribute to large-scale ecosystem health and recovery in two general ways. First, studies can serve to describe and highlight the human systems conditions that generate negative impacts on Puget Sound health. Second, and more importantly perhaps, the social sciences seek to understand how to better engage diverse human populations in greater awareness, deeper understanding, and committed behavior toward ecosystem recovery. We offer a comprehensive overview of human dimensions topics (that are generally aligned with various social science disciplines) that can serve to inform policy and action. This extensive literature review seeks to reconcile common perceptions that regard people as the source of ecological problems with knowledge that can support strategies to engage people in solutions. We present a framework of the human dimension of ecosystem recovery, describing how human activity at different scales can affect change in social-ecological systems. Each of the eight topics in our framework (Table 1- attached) is highlighted using a combination of general principles, theory and prior research, incorporating examples from studies done in the Puget Sound region when possible. Better understanding of this rich potential can contribute to better integration with biophysical knowledge to achieve recovery of large, complex ecological systems. The comprehensive overview of human dimensions topics will foster and support dialog about the scientific basis of a socio-ecological systems approach for Puget Sound recovery.

Session Title

Session S-10F: Understanding and Communicating Salish Sea Human Dimensions and Ecological Health

Conference Track

Planning Assessment & Communication

Conference Name

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

Document Type

Event

Start Date

2-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

2-5-2014 3:00 PM

Location

Room 602-603

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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May 2nd, 1:30 PM May 2nd, 3:00 PM

Human Dimensions of Puget Sound Ecosystem Health and Recovery: Social Sciences Scale and Scope

Room 602-603

The Puget Sound Basin is surrounded by human settlements that range from small resource-dependent communities, to metropolitan areas that are experiencing rapid population growth. Scientific studies in the biophysical disciplines have documented the Puget Sound's ecological decline, established baseline conditions for recovery, and identified human-based sources of ecosystem impacts. The Puget Sound region is a complex socio-ecological system thus making equal attention to human dimensions an important goal, even a necessity. Social scientists across a variety of disciplines (such as economics, geography, anthropology, sociology, and psychology) can contribute to large-scale ecosystem health and recovery in two general ways. First, studies can serve to describe and highlight the human systems conditions that generate negative impacts on Puget Sound health. Second, and more importantly perhaps, the social sciences seek to understand how to better engage diverse human populations in greater awareness, deeper understanding, and committed behavior toward ecosystem recovery. We offer a comprehensive overview of human dimensions topics (that are generally aligned with various social science disciplines) that can serve to inform policy and action. This extensive literature review seeks to reconcile common perceptions that regard people as the source of ecological problems with knowledge that can support strategies to engage people in solutions. We present a framework of the human dimension of ecosystem recovery, describing how human activity at different scales can affect change in social-ecological systems. Each of the eight topics in our framework (Table 1- attached) is highlighted using a combination of general principles, theory and prior research, incorporating examples from studies done in the Puget Sound region when possible. Better understanding of this rich potential can contribute to better integration with biophysical knowledge to achieve recovery of large, complex ecological systems. The comprehensive overview of human dimensions topics will foster and support dialog about the scientific basis of a socio-ecological systems approach for Puget Sound recovery.