Facing threats by sharing information for renewable natural resources management

Paget, N.

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Résumé / Abstract
This thesis aims at exploring the link between information sharing and collective natural resources management (NRM). Reflexivity is often referred to as a possible solution and one of the main ways to mobilize actors around collective objects. This reflexivity may be achieved through the implementation and use of information sharing artifacts. So as to qualify the relation linking information sharing and NRM, I focused on the specific case of oyster farmers, investigating two case studies: the Thau Basin, France, and several estuaries in New South Wales, Australia. Oyster farmers are particularly sensitive to water quality and are currently severely harmed by a virulent virus. Locally, actors developed and used various types of information sharing artifacts. Artifacts are destined to tackle threats that oysters farmers face. Realizing this focal point of interest led to develop the concept of threats using the traditional goods and resources typology as a base for comparison. Threats are defined as the model: a group of actors A is concerned for some characteristics C of goods or resources they use which is influenced by local infrastructure I, human decisions D and environmental dynamics E. They are organized along two main axes: internality, that determines how open or closed the threat is, and excludability that focuses on how much actors may individually find ways to tackle the threat. Framing oyster farming situation using this concept allows for a characterization of stakes for information sharing artifacts when they are destined to help actors cope with different types of threats, as actors of the cases do. To explore these stakes and evaluate the role information sharing artifacts may have in social-ecological systems (SES), specifically on oyster farming, I adopted a descriptive approach and first delved into actual artifacts, evaluating qualitatively their impact with the ENCORE framework. Then, I developed an exploratory agent-based model, a tool that permits a quantitative evaluation of various facets of SESs: environment, beliefs, knowledge and practices of actors. The various artifacts studied in the thesis show that their nature encompasses a wide variety of in goals, contents or media, may lead to improvements in reflexivity or to little to no changes. These improvements, or differences, are strongly linked to the artifact creation process.
Doctorat spécialité informatique, Université Paris-Dauphine

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