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Social Science and Monitoring Needs Report for Puget Sound Recovery

Washington Sea Grant

This report is a regional social science collaboration highlighting the gaps in knowledge related to people and marine environments. Robust social science is a fundamental aspect of ecosystem-based management; and moreover, provides necessary information for understanding resilience and vulnerability to human populations. 
Executive Summary
In October 2013, the Puget Sound Institute hosted a workshop to identify social science and monitoring needs for Puget Sound Recovery. Seventeen regional social scientists from public agencies, universities and consulting firms participated to:
1) Compile existing social research and monitoring related to Puget Sound recovery.
2) Identify social research and monitoring gaps in Puget Sound recovery.
Existing research and monitoring as well as important gaps were identified across the fields of governance, economic, psychological, physical, social, and cultural wellbeing as well as human behaviors and infrastructural impacts (Appendices I-IV). Overarching themes related to conducting and incorporating social science into recovery planning were also identified. A short list of research gaps is provided here, with a full list attached as an appendix (III):
Example research gaps:

  • Puget Sound specific ecosystem service valuation.
  • Economic and cultural research on corporate ownership of natural resources and corporate culture and practices. This includes an exploration of related strategic opportunities.
  • Evaluation of decision-making tools and frameworks that integrate social and ecological science and maximize stakeholder participation with the goal of ecosystem recovery.
  • Analysis of the roles of local elected officials and technical staff in implementing recovery actions.
  • Human behavior research emphasizing landowners, landowner incentives and the political context for behavior change.
  • Natural resource use patterns and connections to human health.
  • Contaminant impacts on human health and ecosystem services that support human wellbeing.
  • The relationship between ecosystem recovery and human wellbeing and how to apply this in indicator and strategy selection.
  • Meta-analysis of existing social science research.
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