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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382914

Research Project: Assessment and Mitigation of Disturbed Sagebrush-Steppe Ecosystems

Location: Northwest Watershed Research Center

Title: Communal processes of health and well-being for rangelands research and practice

item BENTLEY BRYMER, AMANDA - University Of Idaho
item WULFHORST, J - University Of Idaho
item Clark, Pat
item Pierson Jr, Frederick

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2022
Publication Date: 5/27/2022
Citation: Bentley Brymer, A., Wulfhorst, J.D., Clark, P., Pierson Jr, F.B. 2022. Communal processes of health and well-being for rangelands research and practice. Rangelands. 44(5):327-333.

Interpretive Summary: This paper increases awareness of community as a process of social-ecological change in order to elaborate this aspect of rangelands research. First, we review ways social science integration for rangelands research is already happening. Then we highlight additional challenges for social science integration, including the need to distinguish social change processes from cultural ecosystem services. Finally, we highlight a core social change process example - communal processes - and discuss their impacts to individuals’ health and to community well-being. Insights presented here apply to researchers and practitioners who strive to recognize social pressures and the impacts of rural community change by integrating social science with biophysical and ecological science for rangelands monitoring and impact assessments.

Technical Abstract: Sustainably producing agricultural products while simultaneously conserving biodiversity and enhancing quality of life for producers and their rural communities demands integrated research. One challenge for integration is that monitoring of social change processes and impacts often remains secondary to ecological and biophysical monitoring in rangelands research. Ecological and social change processes are both influential to health and well-being. Here we focus on a core, and often underrepresented social example: communal processes. Communal processes bring people into interaction with each other for a common interest or purpose (e.g., celebration of shared identity or place; births, funerals, health crises) or for deliberation and decision-making (e.g., public lands litigation, collaborative adaptive management). Communal processes support (or degrade) physical and mental health in individuals, relationships among individuals, and community cohesion. Research on communal processes and impacts complements research on ecosystem services and adaptive management for improved interdisciplinary research and impact assessments.