Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Social-ecological mismatches create conservation challenges in introduced species management.

Abstract

Introduced species can have important effects on the component species and processes of native ecosystems. However, effective introduced species management can be complicated by technical and social challenges. We identify "social-ecological mismatches" (that is, differences between the scales and functioning of interacting social and ecological systems) as one such challenge. We present three case studies in which mismatches between the organization and functioning of key social and ecological systems have contributed to controversies and debates surrounding introduced species management and policy. We identify three common issues: social systems and cultures may adapt to a new species' arrival at a different rate than ecosystems; ecological impacts can arise at one spatial scale while social impacts occur at another; and the effects of introduced species can spread widely, whereas management actions are constrained by organizational and/or political boundaries. We propose strategies for collaborative knowledge building and adaptive management that may help address these challenges.