There is an emerging paradox in the literature on the commons in which rapid growth in the availability of information about community-based natural resource management is coupled with the relatively slow advances in terms of theory and practice. This paradox stems from a number of important factors, including practical constraints in terms of the time and cognitive abilities of researchers to read and synthesize knowledge from hundreds of potentially relevant papers, as well as a growing consensus that social and environmental outcomes depend upon interactions among a wide range of social, ecological and institutional factors. The Commons Synthesis Project, established at the University of Central Florida, aims to respond to this challenge by leveraging advances in natural language processing and machine learning to develop insights from the literature and legacy large-n databases of community-based natural resource management. This webinar will provide an introduction to these approaches, the underlying motivation for using them, and discuss recent applications.
Graham Epstein is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Politics, Security and International Affairs at the University of Central Florida. His research examines a number of questions at the intersections of society, the environment and institutions with the aim of developing a better understanding of collective action, compliance and sustainable natural resources management. He completed a PhD in Public Policy at Indiana University and has also held teaching and research positions at the University of Waterloo, and has worked in policy practice with the Government of Ontario.