Bodin O, G Robins, RRJ McAllister, AM Guerrero, B Crona, M Tengo, M Lubell (2016) Theorizing benefits and constraints in collaborative environmental governance: a transdisciplinary social-ecological network approach for empirical investigations. ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY 21(1)

When environmental processes cut across socioeconomic boundaries, traditional top-down government approaches struggle to effectively manage and conserve ecosystems. In such cases, governance arrangements that foster multiactor collaboration are needed. The effectiveness of such arrangements, however, depends on how well any ecological interdependencies across governed ecosystems are aligned with patterns of collaboration. This inherent interdisciplinary and complex problem has impeded progress in developing a better understanding of how to govern ecosystems for conservation in an increasingly interconnected world. We argue for the development of empirically informed theories, which are not only able to transcend disciplinary boundaries, but are also explicit in taking these complex social-ecological interdependences into account. We show how this emerging research frontier can be significantly improved by incorporating recent advances in stochastic modeling of multilevel social networks. An empirical case study from an agricultural landscape in Madagascar is reanalyzed to demonstrate these improvements.