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The role of social learning for social-ecological systems in Korean village groves restoration

Eunju Lee, Civic Ecology Lab, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
Marianne E. Krasny, Civic Ecology Lab, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University


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Recently, social learning has been recognized as a means to foster adaptation to changing conditions, and more broadly, social-ecological systems resilience. However, the discussion of social learning and social-ecological resilience in different cultural contexts is limited. In this study we introduce the Korean Village Groves Restoration Project (VGRP) through the lens of social learning, and discuss implications of the VGRP for resilience in villages impacted by industrialization and decline of traditional forest resources. We conducted open-ended interviews with VGRP leaders, government and NGO officials, and residents in four villages in South Korea, and found that villages responded to ecosystem change in ways that could be explained by the characteristics of social learning including interaction, integration, systems orientation, and reflection. However, the processes of learning varied among the four villages, and were associated with different levels of learning and different learning outcomes related to changes in village grove management and governance. The cultural and historical context can be used to help understand social learning processes and their outcomes in the Korean cases.

Key words

Korean village groves; multiple loop learning; natural resource management; social-ecological resilience; social learning

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes 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