Human responses to social-ecological traps

Last modified: 
December 14, 2019 - 9:33am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 11/2016
Authors: Wiebren Boonstra, Emma Björkvik, Jamila Haider, Vanessa Masterson
Journal title: Sustainability Science
Volume: 11
Issue: 6
Pages: 877 - 889
ISSN: 1862-4065

Social-ecological (SE) traps refer to persistent mismatches between the responses of people, or organisms, and their social and ecological conditions that are undesirable from a sustainability perspective. Until now, the occurrence of SE traps is primarily explained from a lack of adaptive capacity; not much attention is paid to other causal factors. In our article, we address this concern by theorizing the variety of human responses to SE traps and the effect of these responses on trap dynamics. Besides (adaptive) capacities, we theorize desires, abilities and opportunities as important additional drivers to explain the diversity of human responses to traps. Using these theoretical concepts, we construct a typology of human responses to SE traps, and illustrate its empirical relevance with three cases of SE traps: Swedish Baltic Sea fishery; amaXhosa rural livelihoods; and Pamir smallholder farming. We conclude with a discussion of how attention to the diversity in human response to SE traps may inform future academic research and planned interventions to prevent or dissolve SE traps.

Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No