Social-Ecological networks and risk: how is perceived and ecological risk associated with network structure?

Steven Alexander, Michele Barnes, Ramiro Berardo, Laura Dee, Marie-Josee Fortin, Angela Guerrero, Kate Helmstedt, Lorien Jasny, Aislyn Keyes, Francois Massol, Spencer Wood


In this paper we compare socio-ecological networks from Jamaica, Kenya, and Papa New Guinea that consist of information exchange among people making a living from fishing, ties to the fish species they catch, and trophic networks among the fish species. Each of the eight separate communities we examine is experiencing different levels of change in the fish populations which we model as ecological risk. We also ask the respondents about their perception of compliance with fishing restrictions, which we model as perceived “social risk”. Previous literature has shown that individuals use bonding and bridging structures in their information networks as different methods to manage risk. We build on this literature by considering different types of risk (social and ecological). We consider the question: How do perceptions of social and ecological risk interact to restructure social and social-ecological interactions? We show that individuals manage their social (person to person) and social-ecological links (which fish they catch) differently depending on their (perceived) social and ecological risk. Using multilevel exponential random graph models and controlling for the ties in the trophic network, we test whether those who perceive greater ecological (and social) risk display different structures in their choices of fish to catch and others with whom they communicate about fishing compared to those who report less perceived risk.

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