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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeActor
Variable KindInteraction
ThemeInstitutional-biophysical linkage (learn about themes)
ProjectsSESMAD
QuestionHow how would you rate the vulnerability of this actor group to changes with respect to the commons that they depend on?
Select Options1 Low, 2 Medium, 3 High
Unit
RoleCommonsUser
Importance
Definition

This variable describes the extent to which a particular commons using actor group is vulnerable to changes in the commons it uses. Vulnerability here is seen to be constituted by three main elements (Polksy et al. 2007): (1) exposure to disturbance associated with the stream of benefits obtained by their use of the commons, (2) sensitivity to this disturbance, and (3) their ability to adapt their behaviors to respond to this disturbance. These concepts are also measured by other variables in the sesmad database. Sensitivity has most often been measured based on the level of dependence a commons user group has on a commons (see Cinner et al. 2012). This is most directly measured by the "economic dependence" variable. There is also a variable called "actor adaptive capacity" which is designed as a measure of the final component. This in turn is sometimes seen as function of other variables, including the sesmad variable "commons alternatives" and "livelihood alternatives."

High vulnerability in this case means that a commons using actor group tends to have high values for the first two components and little adaptive capacity, while low vulnerability would tend to mean the reverse.

 

Sectors

Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
Gilded trapsHigh
Technical solutions and shifting the burdenIncreased

Case Usages

CaseInteraction TypeComponentValue UsedExplanation
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Academic ResearchersLow (1)Researcher vulnerability is not tied to the well-being of the humpback whale population. The benefits to researchers are not exposed to much disturbance and research is not quite sensitive to it, as research adapts and reflects the fluctuations observed in the resource system.
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Academic ResearchersLow (1)Researcher vulnerability is not tied to the well-being of the rocky intertidal. The benefits to researchers are not exposed to much disturbance and research is not quite sensitive to it, as research adapts and reflects the fluctuations observed in the resource system.
Wakatobi National Park GovernanceWakatobi Bajau fishersLow (1)Bajau are highly dependent on the multi-species fishery, but not so much on turtles specifically
Great Australian Bight Marine Park (GABMP) (Commonwealth Waters)GovernanceGABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersLow (1)Commerical fishers do not depend on the southern right whale. The SBT has undergone serious population declines yet the industry is still profitable, suggesting their vulnerability to be low.
Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR)GovernanceGalapagos Tourism SectorMedium (2)Green turtles are a component of dive tourism in the Galapagos, and overall the tourism industry is reliant on a healthy park as this is the attraction of visiting the Galapagos - coded as medium as some degradation probably wouldn't effect tourism too much, but larger degradations might.
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Sanctuary Recreational UsersMedium (2)Whale-watching companies are exposed to disturbance and sensitive since they are dependent on whale populations. However, they can adapt by viewing other species (e.g. sea lions, dolphins) and since their business is not a guarenteed whales, they can still have visitors. Other recreational companies are adaptable to whales in the area, whether it means more business (e.g. kayaking companies), or hampering business (e.g. recreational fishers needing to distance themselves from whales).
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat Artisanal FishersHigh (3)Dependent on the fish for livelihood, although most households are also engaged in farming, fishing is still an important component
Macquarie Island Marine ParkGovernanceAustralian Toothfish FishersMedium (2)Fishers are vulnerable to the loss of this fishery; but can access other resources.
Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR)GovernanceGalapagos Artisan FishermenLow (1)Fishery has crashed and so the fisherman have moved into other industries - mainly tourism and a range of activities from guiding to sport fishing (Alex Hearn pers comm)
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat Artisanal FishersHigh (3)Not necessarily dependent on the corals themselves but are dependent on a healthy ecosystem. Because fishing of coral-associated species is an important livelihood coded vulnerability as high
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR recreational fishersLow (1)Indirect. Fish recreationally, and fish rely on healthy reefs; some would argue that fishing cannot be replaced with other leisure activities
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat TourismMedium (2)Tourism is heavily based on high coral cover - that's the reason people visit the area, but coded as moderately dependent as some declines in coral cover would probably not impact tourism too much.
Raja Ampat (National Act No. 32 2004)GovernanceRaja Ampat Artisanal FishersLow (1)local fishers highly dependent on the multi-species fishery, but not so much on turtles specifically
Falkland Islands squidGovernancePatagonian Squid TrawlersMedium (2)Sensitive is medium in that this is their main source of income, exposure is low. Adaptive capacity is high (lots of options to diversify, can communicate to create innovative solutions).
Central California National Marine Sanctuaries GovernanceCalifornia Groundfish FishermenMedium (2)A healthy groundfish habitat is essentially for healthy groundfish populations, that without, these fishermen would have lost most of their source of income. They do feel the effects of disturbance on this ecosystem and are sensitive to changes (e.g. trawling decreasing stock populations over time), but they have the ability to switch fisheries or find other sources of income (adaptive capacity available).
Macquarie Island Marine ParkGovernanceAustralian Toothfish FishersLow (1)This actor group is not sensitive to changes in the conditions of Light-mantled albatross on Macquarie Island.
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR recreational fishersLow (1)Use the resource recreationally, though some would argue that fishing cannot be replaced with other leisure activities
Svalbard Nature ReservesGovernanceSvalbard TourismMedium (2)The Polar Bear is one of many species that tourists are interested in viewing. However, if the polar bear declines rapidly, likely many other species are in trouble as well.
Seaflower MPAGovernanceSeaflower artisanal fishersHigh (3)Since groupers are one of the most important commercial species for them, I would say high.
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine ReserveGovernanceAustralian Toothfish FishersMedium (2)Fishers are vulnerable to the loss of this fishery; but can access other resources.
Cenderwasih National ParkGovernanceCenderwasih fishersHigh (3)Dependent on the fish for livelihood, although most households are also engaged in farming, fishing is still an important component. Lower than Raja Ampat, but because it is still subsistence use coded as high.
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR commercial fishersMedium (2)Some target species are dependent on coral cover and structure for their productivities and resilience. Coral decline can lead to fisheries impacts in the long term.
Svalbard Nature ReservesGovernanceSvalbard Shrimp FishersHigh (3)Since shrimp fishing is the primary source of income for many of the fishers involved, they are vulnerable to changes. Although not directly related to the status of the commons, a recent fall in shrimp prices has made fishing unprofitable for some boats; numerous boats are opting not to fish. This suggests that they have little alternative to adapt their behaviour.
Great Barrier Reef Marine ParkGovernanceGBR commercial fishersMedium (2)Live within a well-functioning economy though the skills and life-style choices of fishers can mean they are sensitive to changes in the common they use.
Cenderwasih National ParkGovernanceCenderwasih fishersHigh (3)Dependent on the fish for livelihood, although most households are also engaged in farming, fishing is still an important component. Lower than Raja Ampat, but because it is still subsistence use coded as high.
Wakatobi National Park GovernanceWakatobi Bajau fishersHigh (3)Bajau are highly dependent on the coral reef-associated fishery for subsistence
Svalbard Nature ReservesGovernanceSvalbard TourismLow (1)Kittiwake population declines would be unlikely to impact numbers of tourists or revenue.
Wakatobi National Park GovernanceWakatobi Bajau fishersHigh (3)Bajau are highly dependent on marine resources
Great Australian Bight Marine Park (GABMP) (Commonwealth Waters)GovernanceGABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersLow (1)The SBT has undergone serious population declines yet the industry is still profitable, suggesting their vulnerability to be low.
California squidGovernanceCalifornia market squid fishermenMedium (2)Can move to other fisheries, have finances to sustain themselves, but exposed to many fluctuations.
New Zealand squidGovernanceNew Zealand Arrow Squid FishersMedium (2)Squid can be economically profitable. Not fully dependent, but could cause major rifts in industry without. Fishery is exposed to management (closures from sea lion incidental take) and oceanic changes.
Great Australian Bight Marine Park (GABMP) (Commonwealth Waters)GovernanceGABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersLow (1)Commerical fishers do not depend on the Australian sealion. The SBT has undergone serious population declines yet the industry is still profitable, suggesting their vulnerability to be low.
Seaflower MPAGovernanceSeaflower artisanal fishersNot Applicable
Heard and McDonald Islands Marine ReserveGovernanceAustralian Toothfish FishersLow (1)HIMI toothfish fishers are not sensitive to changes in the conditions of light-mantled albatross in the HIMI region.