Cross-scale cooperation enables sustainable use of a common-pool resource
In social-ecological systems (SESs), social and biophysical dynamics interact within and between the levels of organization at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Cross-scale interactions (CSIs) are interdependences between processes at different scales, generating behaviour unpredictable at single scales. Understanding CSIs is important for improving SES governance, but they remain understudied. Theoretical models are needed that capture essential features while being simple enough to yield insights into mechanisms.
In a stylized model, we study CSIs in a two-level system of weakly interacting communities harvesting a common-pool resource. Community members adaptively conform to, or defect from, a norm of socially optimal harvesting, enforced through social sanctioning both within and between communities. We find that each subsystem’s dynamics depend sensitively on the other despite interactions being much weaker between subsystems than within them. When interaction is purely biophysical, stably high cooperation in one community can cause cooperation in the other to collapse. However, even weak social interaction can prevent the collapse of cooperation and instead cause collapse of defection. We identify conditions under which subsystem-level cooperation produces desirable system-level outcomes.
Our findings expand evidence that collaboration is important for sustainably managing shared resources, showing its importance even when resource sharing and social relationships are weak.
Research news | 2022-07-01
Human actions drastically alter river flows
Diminishing water flows may jeopardize the lives of millions of people that depend on the rivers for food production, energy or sanitation
Research news | 2022-06-30
Dig into our resilience-inspired pop culture summer tips
Find your summer inspiration with one of these Anthropocene-themed books, podcasts, and movies
Research news | 2022-06-29
Seafood industry collaboration launches first progress report
SeaBOS, a science-business collaboration including ten of the world's largest seafood companies, reflect on first five years of work
Research news | 2022-06-29
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to host new Anthropocene Biosphere Laboratory
60 million SEK initiative will boost new forms of collaborations and engage with the entire spectrum of science
Research news | 2022-06-28
Centre contributes to Vatican conference on climate resilience
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences will bring researchers, policy makers and faith leaders together to understand the scientific and societal challenges of climate change
Research news | 2022-06-27
Sand extraction: the biggest resource crisis you’ve never heard about
Sand is the world’s most exploited mineral but little is known about the industry behind it