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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeBinary
Variable Component TypeEnvironmental Common
Variable KindComponent
ThemeTechnology (learn about themes)
QuestionIs there an important technological substitute for the economic function served by this environmental commons?
Select Options
ImportanceThe existence, cost and availabilty of natural and/or manufactured products that can be used in place of the resource for one or more of its uses may introduce a substitution effect (North 1990). Subsitutes may reduce pressure on an environmental commons, but it may also discourage collective action to protect the commons.

Natural or manufactured products that can be used in place of a commons for one or more of its typical uses. Examples include steel for timber in construction, livestock in place of wildlife for protein, sunscreen in place of ozone for UV protection, and a constructed wetland in place of a mangrove swamp.


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
Tigris watershed 
Western Atlantic Bluefin Tuna No
Galapagos Sea CucumberNo
Forests in IndonesiaYesWood is the primary resource extracted from the forest, and most, if not all, wood products can be substituted with non-wood products - i.e. structural timber with steel or bamboo or engineered wood products, most other uses engineered wood products, pulp with pulp from annual crops. Some subsistence uses are less easily substitutable because subsistence users are poorly integrated into markets.
Eastern Atlantic Bluefin TunaNo
OzoneYesThe benefits of ozone (i.e. UV protection) can be replaced with sunscreen.
Ozone Depleting SubstancesYesThese substances are being phased out through the use of substitute products.
Rhine Point source pollutantsYesElectrolitic processes in metal refineries were introduced in the 1960s to replace old thermal smelters. The chemical industry has shown more generally that new technologies can be used to reduce emissions of heavy metals.
Rhine Non-point source pollutantsNoThere is manure as a substitute of fertilizers but it is potentially as polluting as chemical fertilizers. There are also agricultural practices that can substitute for the need to apply pesticides but only partially
GBR coral coverNoCan get artificial reef structures, but can't substitute coral
GBR target fish 
GBR target fishNo
Walt's forest 
Patagonian Toothfish No
NWHI Lobster FisheryNo
Macquarie Island Royal PenguinYesPenguin oil fell out of fashion in the early 1900's due to public condemnation as well as the availability of cheaper chemical substitutes.
Light Mantled Albatross Does not serve an important or valued economic function
Wakatobi coral coverNoCan get artificial reef structures, but can't substitute coral
Wakatobi Green TurtleNo
Wakatobi fish spawningNo
Galapagos Green TurtleNo
NWHI Trophic DensityNoThere is no technical substitute or manmade technology that can take the place of the different trophic densities within the NWHI.
Raja Ampat Reef Fish No
Raja Ampat Coral CoverNo
Galapagos SharksNo
Raja Ampat Green TurtleNo
NWHI Green TurtleNot Applicable
California Rocky Shores Ecosystem HealthYesRiprap or Bulkhead can be used, but it is not as effective at overall ecosystem health and is typically not used in this area.
California Humpback WhaleNoThere is no technical substitute or technology that can take the place of humpback whales in the Sanctuaries from an ecological or economic standpoint.
California Groundfish HabitatNo
Svalbard Polar BearNoPolar bear viewing is often a highlight for tourists. There is no technical substitute for that kind of interaction.
Seaflower coral reefsNo
Seaflower groupersYesOther commercial species.
Svalbard BelugaNoWith white skin and often found in large pods, belugas are unique animals that tourists are interested in seeing, for which there is no substitute.
Svalbard ShrimpYesTo substitute for the wild shrimp harvest, shrimp aquaculture has become popular and produces a large amount of the global shrimp consumption.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Southern Right WhaleNoThere is no technological substitute that can take the place of southern right whales in the GAMP (Commonwealth Waters) from an ecological or economic standpoint.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) BenthosNo
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Southern Bluefin TunaNo
King PenguinNo
GBR Green TurtleNo
Cenderwasih coral coverNoCan get artificial reef structures, but can't substitute coral
Cenderwasih green turtleNo
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Sea LionNo
Svalbard KittiwakeNo
Cenderwasih target fishNo
Patagonian squid (Loligo gahi)NoNo technological substitute
Arrow Squid (Nototodarus spp.)NoNo technical substitute
California market squid (Loligo opalescens)No
New Zealand Sea LionNo
Mangrove forest in Bragan├ža, BrazilNo
Lombok aquaculture irrigation canalsNo
Coral reefs, coast and small-island on and surrounding Gili Trawangan, IndonesiaYesSome artificial reef restoration (more than 100 individual structures) have been installed using BioRock technology. Perhaps the largest site doing this in the world.
Gulf of Nicoya fisheriesNo