Accepted Paper:

Analysing social-ecological systems through an interdisciplinary perspective: an approach from Isla Mayor, southwest Spain  

Authors:

Sherman Farhad (Pablo de Olavide University)
Macarena Hernández (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
Miquel A. Gual (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
Esteban Ruiz-Ballesteros (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

Paper short abstract:

Using a case study approach of rice farming in Isla Mayor (Spain), we discuss how we needed to complete our ethnographic approach with additional methods from Ecological Economics and Political Ecology, in order to analyze the relationship between governance system and ecosystem functions.

Paper long abstract:

Addressing complex environmental problems requires the analysis of social-ecological systems and their multiple complex dynamics. To study social mechanisms behind ecosystem functions, we have needed to take an approach from various relevant disciplines. Our experience is based on the study of Isla Mayor social-ecological system, a southern Spanish municipality with an intensive rice cultivation tradition, located in the Guadalquivir river marshes, close to Doñana National Park. At this location, as researchers with diverse backgrounds (anthropology, economics, ecology and biology), we have created the "Isla Mayor case" as an inter-trans-disciplinary endeavour through various research projects, which lessons we present here. In the search for social-ecological relationships through the study of social practices, the key role of governance systems in these society-environment relations was unfolded. All of which have required the use of different methods and techniques, which go well beyond ethnography. In fact, this inter-disciplinary approach has been key for the analysis of governance schemes constraining main socio-economic activities in Isla Mayor. It has contributed to improve our understanding of stakeholders and power groups, formal and informal norms, and cultural practices. Furthermore, some indicators have been used to analyse rice farming biophysical and economic flows. Lastly, using the Ecosystem Services Framework, we think that we have been able to pinpoint key factors for a resilient social-ecological configuration, and thus, the possibility to advise plausible policy directions for sustainability.

Panel P112
Interdisciplinary research and nature-society interactions