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Addressing Social-Ecological Systems across Temporal and Spatial Scales: a Conceptual Synthesis for Ethnobiology

Abstract

We develop an integrative conceptual framework for addressing social-ecological systems across different spatial and temporal scales. Ethnobiologists study social-ecological systems through the lens of heterogeneous disciplines from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Despite the integrative ambitions of the field, ethnobiology often remains fragmented through research programs that emphasize different methods and scales. We propose a conceptual synthesis of three processes: (1) cognitive processing, (2) cultural transmission, and (3) biocultural evolution. We also discuss how social negotiation is embedded in them. By showing how these different processes interact across different spatial and temporal scales, we develop a framework for ethnobiological scholarship that can address complex dynamics in social-ecological systems.

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Funding

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Brasil (CAPES), Finance Code 001. This study benefitted from contributions of the INCT Ethnobiology, Bioprospecting, and Nature Conservation, certified by CNPq, with financial support from FACEPE (Foundation for Support to Science and Technology of the State of Pernambuco, grant number: APQ-0562-2.01/17). ISF thanks CAPES/FACEPE (PNPD program) for providing a postdoctoral scholarship (grant numbers: APQ-0700-2.05/16 and BCT-0259.22-05/17). Thanks to CNPq for the productivity grant awarded to UPA. David Ludwig’s research has been supported by an ERC Starting Grant (851004 LOCAL KNOWLEDGE) and a NWO Vidi Grant (V1.Vidi.195.026 ETHNOONTOLOGIES).

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Ivanilda Soares Feitosa deceased.

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Albuquerque, U.P., Ludwig, D., Feitosa, I.S. et al. Addressing Social-Ecological Systems across Temporal and Spatial Scales: a Conceptual Synthesis for Ethnobiology. Hum Ecol 48, 557–571 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-020-00189-7

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Keywords

  • Ethnobiology
  • Natural sciences
  • Social science
  • Humanities
  • Cognitive processing
  • Cultural transmission
  • Biocultural evolution
  • Knowledge integration
  • Social-ecological systems