Complex socio-ecological systems

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Instructors: Dr. Robert Buschbacher and Dr. Simone Athayde, University of Florida.

This reading and discussion group will be surveying literature related to Resilience of Complex Social-ecological Systems and discussing how these concepts can be applied in TCD (Tropical Conservation and Development) research and practice.

Participants will read approximately 2 articles per week, and post online comments prior to each meeting. Participants will take turns leading discussions; discussion leaders will also post a brief summary of each article online.

Our discussions will focus on the theory and concepts presented in the articles, and also on how we can apply these concepts to specific social-ecological systems where participants have worked or are planning to conduct graduate research. Participants will therefore have the opportunity to work on incorporating theory and concepts into their research proposals throughout the semester. The final assignment consists of each participant writing a brief reflection paper (1-2 pages), in informal writing, sharing their thoughts on how they might apply some of the main concepts and theories reviewed throughout the semester in their research.

On this web site, we will develop an annotated bibliography for each weekly topic. Please follow the link to each week's topic, where we will enter the literature citations, posting of pre-discussion ideas about the article, and finally a summary of the discussion on that topic.

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. A guide on how to prepare an annotated bibliography with some examples and suggestions can be found at:

  • Other resources. Links to pages, programs, institutions, video and radio programs related to the topics covered in the seminar.


week date title preclass comments facilitators
1 January 7 Background information on the resilience concept and its origins pre-class comments Bob and Simone
2 January 14 Systems dynamics: Systems thinking and mental models pre-class comments Deb and Bob
3 January 21 Complex Adaptive Systems pre-class comments Claudia and Caitlin
4 January 28 Genetic algorithms (evolution and learning of systems) pre-class comments Ricardo and Bob
5 February 4 Coupled Human and Natural Systems pre-class comments Sam and Simone
6 February 11 Social systems pre-class comments Thaissa, Ricardo and Simone
7 February 18 Networks pre-class comments Sam and Renato
8 February 25 Adaptive Management and Resilience pre-class comments Bob and Wendy
9 March 4 Operationalizing Resilience pre-class comments Adam and Danielle
10 March 11 Resilience 2011 Conference -- No Meeting BBB questions
11 March 18 Resilience 2011 Conference -- No Meeting
12 March 25 Conference discussion pre-class comments Sam and Simone
13 April 1 Case studies pre-class comments Flavia and Simone
14 April 8 Critique of Resilience pre-class comments Sam, Bob and Simone
15 April 15 Review and closure pre-class comments Bob and Simone