Explaining and measuring social-ecological pathways: The case of global changes and water security

Thomas Bolognesi, Andrea K. Gerlak, Gregory Giuliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The Social-Ecological Systems framework serves as a valuable framework to explore and understand social and ecological interactions, and pathways in water governance. However, it lacks a robust understanding of change. We argue an analytical and methodological approach to engaging global changes in SES is critical to strengthening the scope and relevance of the SES framework. Relying on SES and resilience thinking, we propose an institutional and cognitive model of change where institutions and natural resources systems co-evolve. Our model of change provides a dynamic understanding of SES that stands on three causal mechanisms: institutional complexity trap, rigidity trap, and learning processes. We illustrate how data cube technology could overcome current limitations and offer reliable avenues for testing hypotheses about the dynamics of Social-Ecological Systems and water security by offering to combine spatial and time data with no major technical requirements for users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4378
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 23 2018


  • Data-cube
  • Governance
  • Institution
  • Learning
  • Social-ecological system
  • Water security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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