Behavioral ecology and the sustainability of social networks in socio-ecological systems
This project investigates how social networks help people living in mixed market subsistence economies sustain natural resources, families, and communities. It investigates individual adaptability and community resilience by analyzing a unique and comprehensive set of household demographic, economic, social network, and natural resource data collected annually by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Subsistence Division (ADF&G).
By synthesizing perspectives from behavioral ecology, demography, and environmental anthropology, this project focuses on the role of social networks in harvesting subsistence resources, processing food, earning income, and caring for children.
Analyzing this data will reveal how households accomplish two central tasks that sustain them: economic production and biological reproduction. Using perspectives from behavioral ecology to synthesize analysis of these social and biological processes, this project will develop quantitative measures of adaptability and resilience that apply across socioecological contexts. Analyzing network data on production and reproduction within and between households, this project will identify links among individual actions, community dynamics, and fluctuations in natural resources. This theoretical and methodological approach facilitates comparative research on the human dimensions of sustainability and can generate insights that apply to both social and ecological dimensions of coupled natural and human systems throughout the world.