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The 2024 Newcomb Cleveland Prize celebrates cross-cultural research between western and Indigenous scientists

The award has been given to an interdisciplinary research team with the participation of scientists from the Doñana Biological Station – CSIC
The study looked into the evolutionary...

Enhacing pollinator conservation through landscape heterogeneity

Having 20% of semi-natural habitats is key for ensuring healthy pollinator populations in Europe. OBServ projectaimed to leverage pollinators and the ecosystem services they provide as a key model...

El Museo Casa de la Ciencia de Sevilla estrena hoy dos nuevas exposiciones sobre biodiversidad y plásticos

‘Plastisfera: vida y muerte en el antropoceno»’ abre los ojos a un grave problema ambiental: los 430 millones de toneladas de plástico que se producen al año en todo el mundo.

New study shows that seagulls transport hundreds of kilos of plastic from landfills into natural reserves

Researchers from the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) have developed a plastic deposition model based on the diet and movement of gulls monitored by GPS telemetry, while feeding in landfills in...

Scientific evidence is undeniable: aquifer exploitation is causing serious impacts on the most iconic national park in Spain

A scientific team from the Doñana Biological Station and the Geological and Mining Institute, institutes of the Spanish National Research Council, has reviewed more than 70 studies and demonstrates...

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Explaining path dependent rigidity traps: increasing returns, power, discourses and entrepreneurship intertwined in social-ecological systems

Explaining path dependent rigidity traps: increasing returns, power, discourses and entrepreneurship intertwined in social-ecological systems

The current, unprecedented rate of human development is causing major damages to Earth's life-support systems. Therefore, the need for transitions towards sustainability in the use of natural resources and ecosystems has been extensively advocated. To be successful, such transitions must be guided by a sound understanding of the architecture of the policy and institutional designs of both the process of change and the target outcome. This study contributes to current research on the institutional conditions necessary for successful transitions towards sustainability in social-ecological systems, addressing two interrelated theoretic-analytical questions through an in-depth case study focused in the Doñana region (south-west Spain). First, attention is driven on the need for enhanced historical causal explanations of social-ecological systems stuck in maladaptive rigidity traps at present. Second, attention is driven on the explanatory potential of several factors for shaping maladaptive outcomes, at two different levels of analysis: political-economic interests, prevailing discourses and power, at a contextual level, and institutional entrepreneurship, at an endogenous level. In particular, authors address that explanatory potential when the core logic of path dependence fails to predict maladaptive outcomes in historical, evolutionary perspective. When this occurs, such outcomes are often qualified as unexpected, hence subject to contingency, due to their divergence from purported superior, optimal alternatives. The study argues that contingency can be modulated away from randomness and better characterized as unpredictability, through the systematic inclusion of the mentioned factors into analysis. This would, in turn, increase capacity to inform future policy and institutional transitional designs towards sustainability. informacion[at] Méndez et al (2019) Explaining path-dependent rigidity traps: increasing returns, power, discourses, and entrepreneurship intertwined in social-ecological systems. Ecol Soc