Ce membre a participé aux discussions suivantes
One of the things that I notice about this discussion is that people are using "resilience” rather loosely to convey a general idea about being able to recover from disaster, or be more adaptable to climate change. We use the word “sustainability” in the same general way. This is good for general discussions but we need something more focused for food security projects and policies. For example the Resilience Alliance, a group of scientists that does research on resilience in social-ecological systems uses this definition:
“The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure and feedbacks, and therefore identity, that is, the capacity to change in order to maintain the same identity.”
And a social-ecological systems is defined as:
“Integrated system of ecosystems and human society with reciprocal feedback and interdependence. The concept emphasizes the humans-in-nature perspective.”
There are a number of other key definitions in the same paper:
Folke, C., S. R. Carpenter, B. Walker, M. Scheffer, T. Chapin, and J. Rockström. 2010. Resilience thinking: integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society 15(4): 20. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/art20/
The paper discusses the relationship between resilience, adaptability and transformability, which are three key concepts for understanding the management of change processes in any social-ecological system.
Practical application of resilience theory is described in relation to a farming system in western Australia where poor soil and water management practice led to a major salination problem and decline in wheat production: Walker, B. H., N. Abel, J. M. Anderies, and P. Ryan. 2009. Resilience, adaptability, and transformability in the Goulburn-Broken Catchment, Australia. Ecology and Society 14(1): 12. [online] URL: http://www. ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss1/art12/
A couple of points about assessing resilience:
1. Social-ecological systems are open systems and influenced by both their sub-systems and the larger systems of which they are a part. A family farm is a subsystem of a rural village, which is a subsystem of a landscape, which is a subsystem of … These open sub-systems are continually evolving over time and the resilience of any one of these subsystems will increase or decrease as a consequence of the multiple feed-back interactions that occur between them. For management purposes, one has to be clear about the boundaries of the system being managed and the primary feedbacks that are either driving the system in a particular direction (reinforcing feedback) or balancing feedbacks that are returning a system to an earlier condition. This assessment is about resilience of a specified system to specified shocks and enables managers to assess the risk that a system (a farm, or a farming community, or a agricultural landscape will suddenly change into an undesirable state. The Australian example shows how poor water management changed the farming landscape into an undesirable state.
2. In addition to assessing the resilience of a system to specific socks and stressors, the status and trend of a number of attributes that enhance the potential of a system to change (either to adapt or to transform) can be assessed in what is know as an assessment of general resilience as opposed to specified resilience described about. An example of this kind of assessment is given in this paper: Nemec, K. T., J. Chan, C. Hoffman, T. L. Spanbauer, J. A. Hamm, C. R. Allen, T. Hefley, D. Pan, and P. Shrestha. 2013. Assessing resilience in stressed watersheds. Ecology and Society 19(1): 34. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06156-190134
The two kinds of assessment are complimentary.
There is a simple resilience assessment of a case in Tanzania where land use practice has undergone two major changes over the last fifty years in response to: firstly a development aid intervention to improve agricultural production that led desertification (an unforeseen and undesirable change); and secondly to a restoration effort that put local people and their knowledge back into the land use decision making process. The case description is available here: https://www.iucn.org/content/shinyanga-forest.
There is a range of cases reporting resilience, loss of resilience and transformation in arctic communities that have been severely affected by climate change posted on the Stockholm Resilience website http://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-streames/complex-ad.... These include cases about communities whose livelihood strategies include fishing, herding and hunting.
Walter Mwasaa raises important matters with regard to our understanding of resilience in social-ecological systems and the design and implementation of “resilience building” projects. My response comes from a complex systems perspective rather than a simple mechanistic system perspective.
The short answer to Walter’s question is that there cannot be a minimum time frame within which an individual, community or any kind of complex adaptive system remains resilient. Firstly, resilience is an emergent property of complex systems, which means that resilience changes constantly in relation to the interactions between the internal components of the system and larger system(s) within which it is embedded. The fit between those internal changes processes, and changes in the larger system will determine whether the individual or community: survives and recovers from the shock; expires because it does not have the capacity to adapt to that shock; or survives and changes in some significant way that enhances its capacity to survive future shocks.
Any short term outcomes that “build resilience” can only be short term, because we cannot predict how living beings will continue to grow and adapt and we cannot predict what kinds of shock might occur in the future. Complex systems are not predictable and require us to constantly learn and adapt as the world in which we live changes around us.
From a complex systems perspective, the idea that we can build resilience using short term mechanistic, economistic policies and projects is illogical because the underlying assumption of predictability is false. The outcome of the mismatch is that lots of money is being spent on doing the wrong thing by people who understandably yet illogically expect that resilience can be built in the same way as infrastructure and technology are built. The problem is that in industrial societies we still believe that scientific determinism will provide solutions to complex problems. Our approach to economics, the law and much of the practice of science management is based on the belief that complexity is reducible and ultimately predictable. There are no solutions to problems in complex systems in the sense that problems of math, physics and engineering can be solved. We can only learn and adapt to change as it occurs, or by learning the lessons of the past.
There is an interesting summary of the discussion about development resilience and social-ecological system resilience here http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol21/iss3/art40/