Talk:Complex socio-ecological systems/Operationalizing Resilience

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Comments: Operationalizing resilience

How do you decide the "to what" desirable state of a SES when you have a multitude of interests represented in a region, if you decise to bound your system at a landscape level?

After doing the readings today I still feel there are quite a few points to navigate concerning the operationalization of resilience. These include a standardized definition of what SER looks like (the Cumming et al. vs. the Carpenter et al. paper, for example, highlight this point); an acknowledgement that there needs to be a agreed upon understanding of the differences between resilience, resistance, and adaptation; and an opening for this work in empirical work that is not strictly model-based. The last point has been gaining some traction through the use of network measurements in recent years, but much of the E of SER, with the slight exception of Cumming et al., is highly focused on models (even Ostrom is staking her claim to massive metamodels these days). The Walker et al. heuristics, for instance, have the unfortunate effect of perpetuating the belief that SER thinkers can’t get down to the nitty gritty. Or that perhaps they can with their ecological experimentation and modeling, but that it breaks down when combined with any socioeconomic data collected. The Cumming et al. out of these readings is the most promising as a template, although there are others in the canon which don’t read like the Ninety-Five Thesis nailed to the door of Castle Church in their lack of application. Why? Because I think it provides a way for combining the quantitative measurements of state changes and self-organization in ecological systems with the rich qualitative information that is necessary to describe the changing nature of social systems (not that you can’t do quantitative measures of these systems, but not to the same degree if what you’re attempting to explain can’t be acquired with social instruments). I’m still a bit frustrated by this, but I’m hoping the group has some insight as well as the participants in the resilience conference. ~ Sam