Complex socioecological systems/Adaptive Management and Resilience

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Complex socio-ecological systems

Facilitators: Bob and Wendy

Required readings:

Donald R. N.; W. N. Adger; and K. Brown. 2007. Adaptation to Environmental Change: Contributions of a Resilience Framework. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 32:395–419.
Nelson et al. define and expand the notion of adaptation to environmental change. They argue that adaptation is deliberate change in response or anticipation of stressors and shocks. These usually come in the form of the agency of social actors that have the ability to respond to specific environmental stimuli while reducing vulnerabilities. Resilience perceives adaptive capacity as a prominent feature of socio-ecological systems. The authors contend that resilience provides a framework to analyze adaptation processes and to identify responses in policy. Their contention is that there are differences in incremental adjustments and transformative action, and that the sources of resilience for taking adaptive action are evident across many scales. The inherent system characteristics include: perturbations that do not lose function, networks and social capital, and resources that promote social learning.

Walters, C. J. 2007. Is Adaptive Management Helping to Solve Fisheries Problems? Ambio 36:(4):304-307.
In this opinion piece, Walters writes about why adaptive management has failed, attributing the fact to a lack of management resources for the type of monitoring necessary to carry out large-scale experiments, an unwillingness on the part of decision makers to admit and embrace uncertainty in making policy choices, and a lack of leadership in the form of individuals willing to do the work necessary to plan and implement new and complex management programs. The final conclusion that Walters draws is that scientists must begin to convince managers of the importance of AM in news ways, somehow overcoming the vexing problems of diminished leadership and the high costs that accompany monitoring.

Supplementary readings:

Olsson, P; C. Folke; and F. Berkes. Adaptive Co-management for Building Resilience in Social–ecological Systems. Environmental Management 34 (1): 75–90.

Folke,C.; T. Hahn; P. Olsson; and J. Norberg. 2005. Adaptive Governance of Social-Ecological Systems. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 30:441–73.

Schultz, L., A. Duit, and C. Folke. Participation, Adaptive Co-management, and Management Performance in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. In press, World Development Vol. 39, No. 4, pp. 662–671.