Communication is essential to resilience, as interactions among humans influence how social-ecological systems (SES) respond to change. Our research focuses on how specific communication interactions on sustainability science teams, such as how people meet with each other; the ways in which they categorize themselves and others; the decision-making models they use; and their communication competencies affect outcomes. We describe research from a two-year study of communication in Maine's Sustainability Solutions Initiative, a statewide network of sustainability science teams. Our results demonstrate that decision making and communication competencies influenced mutual understanding, inclusion of diverse ideas, and progress toward sustainability-related goals. We discuss our results in light of key resilience themes and conclude with recommendations for communication design in sustainability teams for improved collaborative process and outcomes.

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Ecology & Society

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Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.


This is an Open Access article published in Ecology and Society in 2015, available online: