Resilience Thinking (CPWF GD workshop, September 2011)


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By Andre van Rooyen. As part of a CPWF September 2011 workshop in Thailand regarding global drivers. We have divided driver types into five categories:
1. Demographic/Social,
2. Economic,
3. Political/Institutional/Legal,
4. Environmental/Climate change,
5. Technological/ Innovations

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Resilience Thinking (CPWF GD workshop, September 2011)

  1. 1. Resilience thinking: Towards new conceptual models in Agricultural/Rural/Basin development…. and modeling Andre F van Rooyen
  2. 2. Complex systems Ostrom 2007Three aspects of decomposability of complexsubsystems are important:1. conceptual partitioning of variables into classes and subclasses.2. is the existence of relatively separable subsystems that are independent of each other in the accomplishment of many functions and development but eventually affect each other’s performance.3. that complex systems are greater than the sum of their parts.
  3. 3. What is resilience and why should we be concerned?The ability of a “system” (social-ecological or SES) torecover from shock/perturbation;3 defining characteristics:1. The amount change a system can undergo and still retain the same controls on function and structure;2. The degree to which a system is capable of self- organization and re-organization after shock/change3. The degree to which the system can learn/share knowledge and adapt. Walker et al. 2002
  4. 4. Back to Plant Ecology 101• Sustainability• Succession models – Linear models• Equilibrium systems• Disequilibrium• Hollings and Walker
  5. 5. Cup and ball models…
  6. 6. Cup and ball models…
  7. 7. Cup and ball models…
  8. 8. Cup and ball models…
  9. 9. State-and-transition-models Closed unpalatable woodland Small shrubsBare soil Mixed annual grass/shrubland Annual grassesSavanna
  10. 10. Transitions can be caused by:• Grazing – Inefficient grazing systems – lack of infrastructure – Inappropriate water provision – Policy – open access systems• Fire• FrostObviously the opposite of these will normally have positiveimpact!
  11. 11. Stable degraded states• Some transitions are irreversible!• Caused by changes in soil, chemistry, structure• Plant spp composition changes and seed banks• Long lived unpalatable spp.Stable degraded states are often very resilientI.e. its very difficult to get out of these states.
  12. 12. Now, apply the same thinking to the whole system socio-ecological systems (SES)• How do the GD interact within the SES in your basin?• What are the specific barriers preventing regime changes?• What are the facilitating environments/conditions which could drive DES in you area forward?Think in terms of:• Technologies• Policies• Markets• Incentives• Environmental conditions/constraints/opportunities
  13. 13. Fig. 6. The current and possible future states in the western Australian wheatbelt and some of the keythresholds. Copyright © 2006 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance.soil salinity began to appear. By 2000, 16% of the soil fertility, suchEtienne,acidification, 11(1): 20. [online] URL: Resilience and regime Kinzig, A. P., P. Ryan, M. as H. Allison, T. Elmqvist, and B. H. Walker. 2006. shifts: assessing cascading effects. Ecology and Society sodicity, andland had become saline and was largely erosion (National Land and Water Resources Audit
  14. 14. Resilience management:• To prevent the system from moving to undesired system configuration when shocked of challenged/disturbed• To nurture and preserve the elements that enable the system to renew and reorganize itself following major chock or change
  15. 15. eco regFig. 1. A framework for the analysis of resilience in consocial-ecological systems. tec all Description of System Go Step 1 Key processes, ecosystem, structures and actors par line reg Exploring Step 2 external Plausible Exploring cha policies visions shocks pre 3-5 scenarios · Wh act Step 3 Resilience analysis ser Better Integrated var Stakeholder evaluation Theories eco Step 4 (processes and products) the Policy and Management "fa Actions · Wh pol
  16. 16. Copyright © 2006 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance.Kinzig, A. P., P. Ryan, M. Etienne, H. Allison, T. Elmqvist, and B. H. Walker. 2006. Resilience and regimeshifts: assessing cascading effects. Ecology and Society 11(1): 20. [online] URL:
  17. 17. Development trajectories and a conceptual model of rural/agricultural development
  18. 18. • Berkes (2007 p.287) suggested: “the creation of platforms for dialogue and innovation, following a crisis, is key to the stimulation of learning to deal with uncertainties. It helps reorganize conceptual models and paradigms, based on a revised understanding of the conditions generating the crisis.”
  19. 19. Folke et al. (2003) defined four clusters of factors, that interactacross temporal and spatial scales which increase the resilienceof SES• Learning to live with change and uncertainty• Nurturing diversity in its various forms• Combining different types of knowledge for learning• Creating opportunity for self-organization and cross-scale linkages
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