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  1. Abstract The concept of adaptive capacity has received significant attention within social-ecological and environmental change research. Within both the resilience and vulnerability literatures specifically, adaptive capacity has emerged as a fundamental concept for assessing the ability of social-ecological systems to adapt to environmental change. Although methods and indicators used to evaluate adaptive capacity are broad, the focus of existing scholarship has predominately been at the individual- and household- levels. However, the capacities necessary for humans to adapt to global environmental change are often a function of individual and societal characteristics, as well as cumulative and emergent capacities across communities andmore »jurisdictions. In this paper, we apply a systematic literature review and co-citation analysis to investigate empirical research on adaptive capacity that focus on societal levels beyond the household. Our review demonstrates that assessments of adaptive capacity at higher societal levels are increasing in frequency, yet vary widely in approach, framing, and results; analyses focus on adaptive capacity at many different levels (e.g. community, municipality, global region), geographic locations, and cover multiple types of disturbances and their impacts across sectors. We also found that there are considerable challenges with regard to the ‘fit’ between data collected and analytical methods used in adequately capturing the cross-scale and cross-level determinants of adaptive capacity. Current approaches to assessing adaptive capacity at societal levels beyond the household tend to simply aggregate individual- or household-level data, which we argue oversimplifies and ignores the inherent interactions within and across societal levels of decision-making that shape the capacity of humans to adapt to environmental change across multiple scales. In order for future adaptive capacity research to be more practice-oriented and effectively guide policy, there is a need to develop indicators and assessments that are matched with the levels of potential policy applications.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 13, 2023
  2. Abstract Reducing invasive species abundance near the leading edge of invasions is important for maintaining diverse, high-functioning ecosystems, but it can be hard to remove invasives present at low levels within desirable plant communities. Focusing on an invasive annual grass, Bromus tectorum , near the edge of its range in the southern Colorado Plateau, we used an observational study to ask what plant community components were associated with lower levels of B. tectorum , and a manipulative experiment to ask if targeted spring grazing or seeding native competitors were effective for reversing low-level invasion. The observational study found that highermore »C 3 perennial grass cover and shrub cover were associated with lower B. tectorum abundance, and adult Poa fendleriana and Pascopyrum smithii plants had the fewest B. tectorum individuals within 50 cm. Our manipulative experiment used a randomized, hierarchical design to test the relative effectiveness of seeding native perennial grasses using different spatial planting arrangements, seeding rates, seed enhancements, and targeted spring grazing. Two years after seeding, seeded species establishment was 36% greater in high seed rate than unseeded plots, and high rate plots also had lower B. tectorum cover. One season after targeted spring grazing (a single, 2-week spring-grazing treatment 17 months post-seeding), grazed paddocks displayed trends towards higher seeded species densities and lower B. tectorum biomass in certain seeding treatments, compared to ungrazed paddocks. Results suggest high rate native grass seedings may be effective and short-duration spring grazing should be further evaluated as potential tools for preventing ecosystem conversion along invasion fronts.« less
  3. Private lands provide key habitat for imperiled species and are core components of function protectected area networks; yet, their incorporation into national and regional conservation planning has been challenging. Identifying locations where private landowners are likely to participate in conservation initiatives can help avoid conflict and clarify trade-offs between ecological benefits and sociopolitical costs. Empirical, spatially explicit assessment of the factors associated with conservation on private land is an emerging tool for identifying future conservation opportunities. However, most data on private land conservation are voluntarily reported and incomplete, which complicates these assessments. We used a novel application of occupancy modelsmore »to analyze the occurrence of conservation easements on private land. We compared multiple formulations of occupancy models with a logistic regression model to predict the locations of conservation easements based on a spatially explicit social–ecological systems framework. We combined a simulation experiment with a case study of easement data in Idaho and Montana (United States) to illustrate the utility of the occupancy framework for modeling conservation on private land. Occupancy models that explicitly accounted for variation in reporting produced estimates of predictors that were substantially less biased than estimates produced by logistic regression under all simulated conditions. Occupancy models produced estimates for the 6 predictors we evaluated in our case study that were larger in magnitude, but less certain than those produced by logistic regression. These results suggest that occupancy models result in qualitatively different inferences regarding the effects of predictors on conservation easement occurrence than logistic regression and highlight the importance of integrating variable and incomplete reporting of participation in empirical analysis of conservation initiatives. Failure to do so can lead to emphasizing the wrong social, institutional, and environmental factors that enable conservation and underestimating conservation opportunities in landscapes where social norms or institutional constraints inhibit reporting.« less
  4. null (Ed.)