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Conceptual Integration for Social-Ecological Systems

An Ontological Approach

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP,volume 446)

Abstract

Sustainability research and policy rely on complex data that couples social and ecological systems (SESs) to draw results and make decisions, therefore understanding the dynamics between human society and natural ecosystems is crucial to tackle sustainability goals. SESs frameworks are employed to establish a common vocabulary that facilitates the identification of variables and the comparison of results. A variety of SESs approaches have been proposed and explored, however integration and interoperability between frameworks is missing, which results in a loss of relevant information. In addition, SESs frameworks often lack semantic clarity which exacerbates difficulties in developing a unified perspective. In this paper we demonstrate the use of ontological analysis to unify the main elements of two prominent SESs paradigms, the social-ecological system framework (SESF) and the Ecosystem Services (ESs) approach, to build an integrated social-ecological perspectives framework. The proposed conceptual framework can be adopted to combine existent and future results from the two paradigms in unified databases and to develop broader explanatory and decision-making tools for SESs and sustainability research.

Keywords

  • Ontological analysis
  • Social-ecological system framework
  • Ecosystem Services

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Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 3.

Notes

  1. 1.

    The images in this work can be found in high resolution at this link.

  2. 2.

    seslibrary.asu.edu.

  3. 3.

    We condense the notion of ecosystem process with ecosystem structure and function following results reported in [48].

  4. 4.

    dictionary.cambridge.org.

  5. 5.

    www.lexico.com.

  6. 6.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/resource; www.lexico.com/en/definition/resource.

  7. 7.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/it/dizionario/inglese/actor; www.lexico.com/en/definition/actor.

  8. 8.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/governance; www.lexico.com/en/definition/governance.

  9. 9.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/policy.

  10. 10.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/structure.

  11. 11.

    The distinction between social and natural roles can be found also in [5].

  12. 12.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/service; https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/service.

  13. 13.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/value; www.lexico.com/definition/value.

  14. 14.

    dictionary.cambridge.org/it/dizionario/inglese/benefit; www.lexico.com/definition/benefit.

  15. 15.

    In Fig. 3 “natural resource” “human resource”, “value entity” and “functional role’ are abbreviated respectively as “nr.”, “hr.”, “vr.” and “fr.”.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by LARSyS (Projeto - UIDB/50009/2020).

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Adamo, G., Willis, M. (2022). Conceptual Integration for Social-Ecological Systems. In: Guizzardi, R., Ralyté, J., Franch, X. (eds) Research Challenges in Information Science. RCIS 2022. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol 446. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05760-1_19

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