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Transition Landscapes and Social Networks: Examining On-Gound Community Resilience and its Implications for Policy Settings in Multiscalar Systems

Ruth Beilin, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne
Nicole Tania Reichelt, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne
Barbara Joyce King, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne
Allison Long, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victorian Government
Stephanie Cam, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victorian Government

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05360-180230

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Abstract

Community based natural resource management groups contribute to landscape scale ecological change through their aggregation of local ecological knowledge. However, the social networks at the heart of such groups remain invisible to decision makers as evidenced in funding cuts and strategic policy documents. Our research is a pilot study of the social networks in two peri-urban landscapes in Victoria, Australia. We describe the social network analysis undertaken with regard to natural resource management issues. The findings are assessed against the qualities of resilience: diversity, modularity, connectivity, and feedback loops. A social network analysis tool is discussed with participants to assess its usefulness on-ground and with agency staff involved in the project. We concluded that the sociograms are useful to the groups, however, the management of the tool itself is complex and calls for agency personnel to facilitate the process. Overall, the project did make visible the networks that contribute to a multiscalar social and ecological resilience in these landscapes, and in this regard, their use is of benefit to policy makers concerned with supporting networks that build social resilience.

Key words

community based; complex systems; Landcare; multiscalar collaboration; resource management; social network analysis; social resilience
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087