Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Minnesota Project

Understanding the imporance of weak-tie networks in complex

April 2006 - December 2011


Participating Agencies

  • National Science Foundation

In agriculture, ‘multifunctionality’ refers to production of a range of agricultural commodities and conservation of biodiversity and water quality. Multifunctional agriculture addresses a range of social and ecological challenges to sustainability. This project is conducted by an interdisciplinary team to evaluate multifunctional agriculture as a coupled human-environment system driven by ecosocial feedback, weak-tie social networks, and multiple biophysical benefits. Weak tie networks allow the shared perception of biophysical signals, communication, resource exchange, and collective action by individuals and groups to generate ecological benefits and increase the size and resource base of social networks. Work will occur in New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin that differ in adoption of rotational grazing (RG). The project will examine individual and group behavior and development of social-network, assess the biophysical effects on terrestrial and aquatic systems at farm and landscape scales. Our portion of the project addresses stream channel characteristics and aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in relation to RG compared with continuously grazed pastures. The proposed research will help identify both opportunities and barriers affecting development of a sustainable bioeconomy based on multifunctional agriculture.

Research Publications Publication Date
Raymond, K. L. and B. Vondracek. 2011. Relationships among rotational and conventional grazing systems, stream channels and macroinvertebrates. Hydrobiologia 669(1):105-117. June 2011
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Raymond, K. 2009. The effects of rotational grazing on stream channels and macroinvertebrate communities. M.S. Thesis, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota. May 2009