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E&S Home > Vol. 26, Iss. 4 > Art. 37 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Social learning in conservation and natural resource management: taking a sociocultural perspective

Christopher C. Jadallah, University of California, Davis
Heidi L. Ballard, University of California, Davis


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Involving multiple stakeholders in conservation and natural resource management through participatory and collaborative approaches has been lauded as having great potential for achieving healthy and resilient social-ecological systems. Within these approaches, social learning has come to be understood as a key process that can support resilient systems by fostering trust and mutual understanding between stakeholders, bringing diverse types of knowledge into management schemes, and increasing the adaptive capacity of social-ecological systems so they are better equipped to accommodate change and disturbance. Yet, research on social learning with respect to conservation and natural resource management has thus far failed to consequentially attend to the intensive research and theoretical perspectives on learning from the learning sciences and educational research more broadly, perspectives that we argue can offer new insights to the social learning scholarship. Specifically, we synthesize and assess the value of sociocultural theories of learning to improve research on social learning processes and outcomes in the context of social-ecological resilience. Sociocultural learning theories help explain learning at both the individual and collective level, as well as the role of social, cultural, and historical contexts as constitutive components of learning. We argue that future studies of social learning should consider engaging with these theories to yield more rich and nuanced insights for the conservation and natural resource management fields with the goal of bolstering social-ecological resilience.

Key words

resilience; social learning; sociocultural learning theory

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087