Unpacking changing multi-actor and multi-level actor ties in transformative spaces: Insights from a degraded landscape, Machubeni, South Africa

Menelisi Falayi, James Gambiza, Michael Schoon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The loss of ecosystem services through land degradation continues to be a significant concern for policymakers and land users around the world. Facilitating collective action among various actors is regarded as imperative in halting land degradation. Despite extensive research on collective action, there have been few studies that continuously map social ties and detect network evolution as a way of enabling longitudinal analysis of transformative spaces. This paper seeks to examine the changing dynamics of multi-actor and multi-level actor ties over a period of two years in Machubeni, South Africa. To do this, we used social network analysis to detect continuities and/or discontinuities of multi-actor and multi-level actor ties over time. Overall, edge density, clustering coefficient, and reciprocity scores steadily increased over the two years despite a decline in the number of active organisations within the network. Our results demonstrate that the proportion of strong ties gradually increased over time across three governance networks. However, multi-level linkages between the local municipality and the local organisations remained weak due to a lack of trust and collaborative fatigue. While the transformative space has succeeded in enhancing collaboration and knowledge sharing between local organisations and researchers, further long-term engagement with government agencies might be necessary for promoting institutional transformations and policy outcomes, and building network resilience in complex polycentric governance systems.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number227
    JournalLand
    Volume9
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 2020

    Keywords

    • Actors
    • Collaboration
    • Land degradation
    • Learning
    • Social capital
    • Social network analysis
    • Transformative spaces

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Global and Planetary Change
    • Ecology
    • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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