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Social Capital Structure and Dynamics in Stream Restoration: A Social Network Analysis Approach to the Upper Shavers Fork, West Virginia

By Paul J. Kinder Jr.

Abstract

Streams are common pool resources embedded in watersheds representing complex socio-ecological systems that provide ecological goods and services as well as economic and social benefits. They have been referred to as the lifeblood of civilization. Streams, however, are among the most vulnerable natural resources globally to anthropocentric impacts and are all too often in need of restoration. While the primary objective of stream restoration is to bring back healthy ecological functions, other benefits and outcomes from restoration efforts exist, but are often overlooked. These benefits and outcomes relate to effective natural resource governance systems, which rely on social networks comprised of social capital. Moreover, social networks are the infrastructure of the social capital underpinning collaborative effort, co-management, and adaptive natural resource governance. In the case of stream restoration in the Upper Shavers Fork of West Virginia, research has confirmed that social network structure and character are related to adaptive natural resource governance, performance, and perhaps more importantly, studying network structural dynamics yields greater insights than merely performing analyses on a single slice in time. While results indicate an emergence and persistence of adaptive and polycentric governance structures in the Upper Shavers Fork restoration effort, a core-periphery pattern also endured with the same three key organizations holding the most central network positions during all time periods studied. This research provides empirical results linking natural resource governance effectiveness to network structure and dynamics which has been deemed lacking in the literature to date, and also, provides a useful example of stream and watershed restoration to inform and guide future efforts in West Virginia, and beyond

Publisher: The Research Repository @ WVU
Year: 2017
OAI identifier: oai:researchrepository.wvu.edu:etd-8142
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