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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 4, 2023
  2. The socio-ecological systems (SESs) framework provides cross-disciplinary insight into complex environmental problems. Numerous studies have applied the SES framework to coastal and marine environments over the last two decades. We review and analyze 98 of those studies to (i) describe how SES concepts were examined and measured, (ii) describe how the studies included feedbacks and thresholds, and (iii) identify and analyze elements unique to coastal and marine SES frameworks. We find that progress has been made in understanding key SES properties in coastal and marine ecosystems, which include resilience, adaptive capacity, vulnerability, and governance. A variety of methods has been developed and applied to analyze these features qualitatively and quantitatively. We also find that recent studies have incorporated land-based stressors in their analyses of coastal issues related to nutrient runoff, bacterial pollution, and management of anadromous species to represent explicit links in land-to-sea continuums. However, the literature has yet to identify methods and data that can be used to provide causal evidence of non-linearities and thresholds within SES. In addition, our findings suggest that greater alignment and consistency are needed in models with regard to metrics and spatial boundaries between ecological and social systems to take full advantage of themore »SES framework and improve coastal and marine management.« less
  3. Aging infrastructure and growing interests in river restoration have led to a substantial rise in dam removals in the United States. However, the decision to remove a dam involves many complex trade-offs. The benefits of dam removal for hazard reduction and ecological restoration are potentially offset by the loss of hydroelectricity production, water supply, and other important services. We use a multiobjective approach to examine a wide array of trade-offs and synergies involved with strategic dam removal at three spatial scales in New England. We find that increasing the scale of decision-making improves the efficiency of trade-offs among ecosystem services, river safety, and economic costs resulting from dam removal, but this may lead to heterogeneous and less equitable local-scale outcomes. Our model may help facilitate multilateral funding, policy, and stakeholder agreements by analyzing the trade-offs of coordinated dam decisions, including net benefit alternatives to dam removal, at scales that satisfy these agreements.