Spatially explicit information has become a de-facto standard for the analysis of natural systems. However, social science is much slower to pick up this approach, and with a few exceptions, governance structures are analysed out of the spatial contexts, despite spatial fit issues being recognised as central to the study of environmental institutions. Another problem arising from the limited use/low awareness of spatial analysis tools is that studies of social–ecological systems are rarely done consistently for a large area; instead they tend to rely on case studies that are often chosen for their idiosyncrasies. As a result, our knowledge of social–ecological systems is somewhat distorted. This study provides an account of quantitative and qualitative spatially-explicit analyses of a resource governance system, and in doing so offers a methodology for integrating biophysical and institutional dimensions of a social–ecological system in the evaluation of its adaptability. The focus is on forest systems, the scale is a nation (Belarus) and the unit of analysis is a square kilometre forest patch.
Socio-ecological systems; Vulnerability mapping; Adaptive governance; Earth System Governance; Forest ecosystems; Belarus