Exploring Traps in Forest and Marine Socio-Ecological Systems of Southern and Austral Chile

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  • Laura Nahuelhual
  • Gonzalo Saavedra
  • Cristobal Jullian
  • María Amalia Mellado
  • Felipe Benra
Traps in social-ecological systems depict situations where human actors and institutions interact with ecological dynamics and unintentionally steer development into vulnerable paths difficult to reverse. We use the social-ecological trap (SET) metaphor and path-dependence analysis to describe the emerge of trap situations in two contrasting cases: (1) Panguipulli municipality, representative of the significant land inequalities that dominate the rural landscape of southern Chile, and (2) southern king crab artisan fishery (Lithodes santolla) of the Magellan region, a semiopen access fishery of high economic value, where illegal extractions are a pressing problem. In Panguipulli, the system is caught in a “trilogy of inequalities” (land, forest, and ecosystem services) that together conform an inequality trap. Government policies surrounding land and forest tenure since the imposition of colonial rule and the modern State have interacted with other factors to concentrate economic power in large landowners, marginalize small peasants, and weaken customary management institutions. In the Magellan case, the trap could be erroneously confounded since there are no apparent human losers. As 3 years of interviews and participant observations reveal, the apparent absence of a trap rests on the confidence that “there are still resources for all” and that illegal fishing is not pressing the size of the stock.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial-ecological Systems of Latin America: Complexities and Challenges
EditorsLuisa E. Delgado, Víctor H. Marín
Number of pages23
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Schweiz
Publication date31.10.2019
ISBN (print)978-3-030-28451-0
ISBN (electronic)978-3-030-28452-7
Publication statusPublished - 31.10.2019
Externally publishedYes

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