Studying human-nature relationships through a network lens: a systematic review


1. Understanding the complex interlinkages between humans and nature is crucial for developing strategies to effectively manage natural resources and to enhance resilience of social–ecological systems (SES). Network analysis bears great potential to advance such comprehension of SESs because it allows for identifying and analysing direct and indirect relationships and processes. As a result, the number of network studies in social–ecological research has rapidly grown over the last decade.
2. This work systematizes existing network approaches for analysing human–nature relationships based on the level of integration of both the social and ecological realms in the network conceptualization.
3. A structured inductive review of existing empirical network studies exploring a wide range of phenomena at the human–nature interface was conducted, resulting in 138 studies falling into three proposed categories. We examine their network conceptualization and means of analysis, and discuss challenges and potentials of each of the three categories in empirical research.
4. The study highlights the diversity and creativity with which distinct social and ecological entities are defined to enable the use of a variety of network analytical approaches in SES research.
5. Demonstrating the increasing recognition of network analysis to describe human– nature relationships since the early 2000s and providing an overview of the many useful conceptual and methodological approaches, this article contributes to systematizing the existing studies and provides practical guidance for network research to help disentangling complex SES.

Kluger, L. C., Gorris, P., Kochalski, S., Mueller, M. S., Romagnoni, G. (2020). Studying human-nature relationships through a network lens: a systematic review. People and Nature, 2, 1100-1116

Published : 2020
Appeared in : People and Nature, 2, 1100-1116