Correspondence address: Rodolphe Gonzalès, Département de Géographie, Université de Montréal, 520, Chemin de la côte Sainte Catherine Montreal, QC, Canada H2V 2B8. E-mail: email@example.com.
Network Theory in the Assessment of the Sustainability of Social–Ecological Systems
Article first published online: 2 FEB 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Geography Compass © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 6, Issue 2, pages 76–88, February 2012
How to Cite
Gonzalès, R. and Parrott, L. (2012), Network Theory in the Assessment of the Sustainability of Social–Ecological Systems. Geography Compass, 6: 76–88. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00470.x
- Issue published online: 2 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 2 FEB 2012
As human activities increasingly threaten the ecosystems on which they depend, one of the main questions our societies are facing is related to the resilience – seen as a necessary element of sustainability – of social–ecological systems (SESs). SESs are composed of many heterogeneous elements including human actors such as institutions and resource users, and natural components such as land patches, animal species, etc. The numerous relationships between these different entities shape complex, dynamic networks of social–ecological interdependencies. Once described as networks, SESs can be analysed using a variety of network metrics, which may potentially help to better quantify and evaluate the resilience of SESs to external or internal perturbations. In this paper, we provide a broad overview of the latest progress in network theory as applied to SESs and discuss how network metrics may be used to assess the sustainability of an SES.