On the move: The role of mobility and migration as a coping strategy for resource users after abrupt environmental disturbance – the empirical example of the Coastal El Niño 2017


Lotta Clara Kluger,  Henry Alffa,  Eliana Alfaro-Córdova,  JoannaAlfaro-Shiguetocd


Individual mobility – moving between and within different geographic regions – represents an adaptation strategy of natural resource users worldwide to cope with sudden and gradual changes in resource abundances. This work traces the recent history of Peruvian small-scale fishers’ migration, and particularly analyses the spatial mobility patterns of resource users along the Peruvian coastline in the aftermath of the coastal El Niño 2017. In February-March 2017, this event caused extraordinary heavy rains and a rise in water temperatures along the coast of northern Peru, inducing negative consequences for the small-scale fisheries and scallop (Argopecten purpuratus) aquaculture sectors, both representing important socio-economic activities in the region. Responses of local resource users to these changes were highly diverse, with a great number of people leaving the region in search for work in fishing and non-fishing activities. With a particular emphasis on the province of Sechura, this work attempts to shed light on how and why migration flows differ for fishers and scallop farmers and to explore future pathways in the context of post-disturbance recovery. About one year after the disturbance event, the small-scale fishery operated almost on a regular scale, while the aquaculture sector still struggled towards pre-El Niño conditions, reflected, for example, in a higher percentage of persons engaging in other economic activities within and outside the region. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of human movement and translocal social networks emerging in moments of crisis and should be considered for future development of long-term management strategies incorporating increasing interconnectedness of places on different scales in the face of future disturbance events. Understanding adaptation strategies of resource users in this particular social-ecological setting will further serve to inform other coastal systems prone to (re-occurring) environmental change by highlighting the diversity of socio-economic and natural drivers that can stipulate mobility and affect adaptive capacity of resource users.



Understanding resilience of small-scale fishery value chains from a social-ecological network perspective; A case study of San Andrés, a small-scale fishery within the Humboldt Current System on the coast of Peru


MSc. Samantha Mercer, University of Bremen

Supervisors of work: Dr. Lotta Clara Kluger (ZMT & University of Bremen), Dr. Stefan Partelow (ZMT Bremen)

Part of: Humboldt Tipping project’s working package 5

Summary of work:

I recently completed my master’s thesis, entitled “Understanding resilience of small-scale fishery value chains from a social-ecological network perspective; A case study of San Andrés, a small-scale fishery within the Humboldt Current System on the coast of Peru,” as part of the Humboldt Tipping Project’s Working Group 5. My work applies social-ecological network (SEN) analysis as a method to assess adaptive capacity and resilience of the small-scale fishery (SSF) in the coastal town of San Andrés, Peru. I used qualitative and quantitative data from field interviews with local fishers and members of the community to construct a multi-level SEN of San Andrés SSF value-chains, mapping fishery products from catchàfisheràbuyeràmarket. I spent a total of six months in the field, living in Paracas, Peru, a small tourist town centrally located amongst 5 of the region’s 7 SSF landing sites. I then examined my network for structural patterns indicating adaptive capacity, particularly from the fisher perspective; that is to say, I looked for the presence of multiple options (regarding catch species, buyers, and markets) across the value-chain. Results indicate that overall, fishers within this system do exhibit adaptive capacity, catching multiple species across different seasons, and selling their products to multiple buyers and into multiple markets. From these results, I defined a theoretical fisher motif; it is hoped that the identified patterns can help inform general SEN theory within SSFs. However, drawing conclusions about continued adaptive capacity and resilience within this specific system required further contextualization and leads to an interesting discussion. Nonetheless, this work contributes to the growing body of SEN analysis research, particularly applying SEN analysis as a methodology to assess adaptive capacity and resilience in social- ecological systems. Furthermore, it contributes to an understanding of the adaptive capacity and resilience of SSFs, specifically along the coast of Peru, to disturbances (e.g., El Niño Southern Oscillation events), particularly in the face of global climate change.

Institutional context and governance of Peruvian fisheries and aquaculture.


Garteizgogeascoa, M., Gonzales, I. E., Kluger, L. C., Damonte, G., & Flitner, M. (2020).

This report aims to provide an overview of the different institutions involved in coastal-marine governance in Peru and their respective roles, while describing the legal framework for the Peruvian fisheries and aquaculture sectors. For both cases, the main governance constraints and conflicts are discussed.

Contextualising scenarios for exploring social-ecological futures: A three-step participatory case study for the Humboldt Current upwelling system.


Garteizgogeascoa, M., Kluger, L. C., Gonzales, I. E., Damonte, G., & Flitner, M. (2020).

Frontiers in Marine Science.

The exploration of futures for coastal-marine socio-ecosystems has become a very important issue in recent years especially because of global change and the uncertainties that accompany it. This scientific endeavour is largely made possible by developments in the field of ecological modelling, which aims to improve our understanding of ecosystem dynamics and complexities by assessing the response of ecosystems to drivers of change. Despite the need for this type of science, in recent years attention has been drawn to the way in which models are constructed; often in a non-interdisciplinary manner, and from a reductionist and hierarchical perspective on knowledge that can limit the results of models and/or generate tensions if not related to the interests, concerns and knowledge of the communities that inhabit and make use of coastal-marine socio-ecosystems. The work presented in this scientific article explores different futures for the coastal marine socio-ecosystem of the northern system of the Humboldt Current; and it does so by attempting to respond to the aforementioned criticisms through the development of a sequence of participatory processes (online questionnaires, workshops and group meetings). This methodological approach has made it possible to highlight the importance of contextualising the scenarios explored by the futures by highlighting the differences between stakeholders regarding such relevant notions as sustainability and organisational capacity and their link with marine-coastal governance. In this way, we have sought to contribute to current scientific discussions on future scenarios through a multi-participatory method and narrative analysis; a process that can help in the identification of future development pathways and that can positively inform the development of computational models and management policies.

Studying human–nature relationships through a network lens: A systematic review


Lotta C. Kluger | Philipp Gorris | Sophia Kochalski | Miriam S. Mueller | Giovanni Romagnoni

DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10136

Networks –more than the sum of their parts: People extracting wood from a forest, tourists marvelling at big rock formations, or fishers capturing crabs in a coastal lagoon: these are examples of human-nature relations, also called social-ecological systems. As the world grows closer together, many of these interactions become increasingly complex. Climate change effects, resource extraction, and pollution represent challenges to the sustainability of many social-ecological systems. Understanding the different ways people engage with nature and interact with each other helps to design management strategies and mitigation measures.In this work, we look at how social and natural scientists have used a particular tool –network analysis –to explore and understand social-ecological systems. Network analysis is the study of a system represented as its discrete members: individuals or groups of people, biological species, or ecosystem patches. The network emerges when the interactions among these entities are identified and illustrated. Interactions can be, for example, collaboration, exchange of information or money, selling of a resource such as a fish, active movement of animals, or passive transport of pollen. Many scientists use network structures to understand how interactions shape system dynamics and processes to identify key actors or vulnerable points.Network analysis has been used in a wide range of settings, though –it seems –each researcher uses their own vocabulary to describe the different network parts. However, using consistent language helps to communicate, to compare, and to join efforts. This is why we wanted to systematize the existing research according to how authors conceptualized networks to describe human-nature interactions. Were only humans considered, only ecosystem parts, or both? Based on the degree to which both realms (society and nature) are integrated in the analysis, we propose three categories of social-ecological networks: From Type I, networks looking at only one realm (society or nature), to Type III, integrating actors from both realms (society and nature) and all interactions therein. Our results show that there are many different ways of constructing a network describing a social-ecological system, but that increasing complexity (Type III networks) imposes methodological challenges. Selection of the appropriate network type should be based on the question at hand. Our aimwas to provide a broad overview that should help to discuss benefits and drawbacks of the different means of conceptualizing a social-ecological network. Thus, a research team wanting to construct a social-ecological network for their particular setting can draw from our experience and find guidance in the jungle of terminology and concepts.