Ecology and Society Ecology and Society
E&S Home > Vol. 24, Iss. 4 > Art. 13 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Fostering urban transformations in Latin America: lessons around the ecological management of an urban stream in coproduction with a social movement (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Martin Graziano, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires (IEGEBA-UBA/CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Grecia Stefanía de Groot, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires (IEGEBA-UBA/CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Present affiliation: Instituto de Investigaciones en Biodiversidad y Medio Ambiente (INIBIOMA-UNCO/CONICET), Río Negro, Argentina.
Laura Daniela Pilato, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires (IEGEBA-UBA/CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
María Laura Sánchez, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires (IEGEBA-UBA/CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Irina Izaguirre, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires (IEGEBA-UBA/CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Haydée N. Pizarro, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Instituto de Ecología, Genética y Evolución de Buenos Aires (IEGEBA-UBA/CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-11226-240413

Full Text: HTML   
Download Citation


Abstract

Collaborative community-based approaches are proposed as a way to overcome the difficulties exerted by a broad range of social-ecological traps that emerge at the reconfiguration of social-ecological systems onto sustainable paths. Despite this, a deep examination of the social-ecological processes and interactions that constrain these approaches in different urban contexts is still necessary to improve their success. Latin American countries have institutional, political, and social characteristics that could constrain the pathways to sustainability in different ways from countries of the Global North, particularly in their metropolitan areas. Here, we present an experience (2015–2018) held in cooperation with workers of a social cooperative framed in an urban social movement from Argentina, related to the ecological rehabilitation of a highly degraded urban stream through the management of the riparian vegetation and the reintroduction of native macrophytes. The methodology involved a codesign approach based on a set of participatory action-research tools, together with resilience system analysis through causal loop diagrams, and three different interventions of a 200-m reach at the upstream area of the San Francisco stream (Buenos Aires, Argentina). The participatory diagnostic showed a strong negative effect of the current management guidelines on the riparian and aquatic vegetation, reflecting a positive feedback loop that reinforces this negative state, and revealed a hierarchical governance regime associated with the management of the watershed. Furthermore, it detected a strong motivation of local workers to generate transformative actions in terms of the sanitary and social-ecological improvements of the local habitat. The management actions showed a relatively high short-term survival of the macrophyte transplants (30–60% in a period of 2–4 months), displaying a strong spatial structure of the survival units, and downscaling to about 10% in the long term (6–12 months after interventions). A combination of biophysical and social processes related both to institutional and rigidity traps affected the survival of the transplants, reflecting the inertia of the current management programs to ecological improvements of the stream. In summary, the present work highlights the social-ecological constraints arising from transformative collective actions toward the ecological management of a stream at a highly vulnerable and bureaucratic urban context, with implications for social-ecological urban transformations in Latin America and the design of effective participatory governance actions in alliance with local social movements.

Key words

environmental governance; social movements; stream rehabilitation; urban social-ecological traps; water governance

Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Top
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087