Social-ecological catchments for prioritizing restoration efforts

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Kevin Pope

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Ecological restoration efforts occur within coupled social-ecological systems, and therefore these efforts must consider human behavior to be effective. The allocation and distribution of limited resources to restore social-ecological systems involves trade-offs among potential actions and associated outcomes. What habitats should be prioritized to optimize our efforts and how will these actions influence human behavior?  Recreation-based systems, like inland fisheries in the USA, offer a unique opportunity to explore how anglers respond to habitat restoration efforts on aging and degraded reservoirs. Anglers and the waterbodies they use are patchily distributed across the landscape; tracking and understanding how these non-uniform spatial distributions concomitantly respond to restoration efforts is difficult. To address this challenge, we constructed waterbody-specific, social-ecological catchments that represent the spatio-temporal draw of anglers to a waterbody. Social-ecological catchments were developed from U.S. Postal Service Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) information collected from anglers who were fishing at a waterbody; these angler distributions were mapped using kernel density estimation techniques. We highlight how ecological restoration efforts could benefit by considering landscape context (i.e., waterbody rich vs. waterbody poor, urban vs. rural), heterogeneity of angler types, and reservoir age or degradation status. We discuss how social-ecological catchments could provide a powerful and practical tool for managers to visualize and quantify changes in social-ecological dynamics on the landscape.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration