Building or reducing resilience in our social-ecological systems.


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Presented by Nick Abel as part of the 2009 Place and Purpose Symposium run by the Landscape Science Cluster

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Building or reducing resilience in our social-ecological systems.

  1. 1. Building or reducing resilience in our social-ecological systems. Nick Abel
  2. 2. How to adapt to an uncertain future: build resilience, or transform? Nick Abel CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 1/10/2009
  3. 3. A social ecological system can usually be in more than one ‘regime’ CSIRO.
  4. 4. K: conservation The adaptive cycle r: growth / exploitation things change resources readily available MDB slowly; resources ‘locked up’ N Aus K r Ω a a: re-organization/renewal W: release system boundaries tenuous; things change very rapidly; innovations are possible ‘locked up’ resources suddenly released CSIRO.
  5. 5. Cross scale linkages of adaptive cycles CSIRO.
  6. 6. Transforming the Murray Darling Basin • Think cross-scale • Social process • Values – what do we want them to be? • Possible alternative regimes, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ • Winners & losers • Feedbacks and thresholds • Windows of opportunity & feasible paths • Pilot projects • Disinvestments in the current regime • Investments in the new regime • Rule changes • Incentive changes CSIRO.
  7. 7. Building resilience in Northern Australia • Values • Drivers and scenarios for them • Cross scale influences • Slow variables, feedbacks, & thresholds CSIRO.
  8. 8. CSIRO.
  9. 9. Following the flood... dry rise healthy vegetation groundwater Large floodplain, covered with healthy vegetation CSIRO. Surface water enlivens the landscape
  10. 10. Once the surface water’s gone... dry rise healthy waterhole vegetation groundwater Healthy vegetation & animals concentrate in waterholes maintained by groundwater CSIRO.
  11. 11. If groundwater extraction is excessive... healthy dry vegetation waterhole groundwater Waterholes dry up, area of healthy vegetation declines, locals, tourists & animals suffer The landscape is sensitive to small changes in groundwater depth CSIRO.
  12. 12. CSIRO.
  13. 13. CSIRO.
  14. 14. Building Resilience in NA - continued • Possible alternative regimes • Winners & losers • Potential shocks • Vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities • Institutions & investments for resilience CSIRO.
  15. 15. Institutions & investments for resilience • Invest assuming climatic change will happen • Invest in a diversity of resource uses • Limit investments in enterprises & infrastructure that are irreversible • Identify thresholds of potential concern • Can new land and water rights be time-bound? • Develop ‘rules for changing the rules’ • Invest in self-organising capacity • Invest in decentralised governance CSIRO.
  16. 16. Workbooks for practitioners and researchers CSIRO.
  17. 17. Nick Abel Thank you CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems 02 6242 1534
  18. 18. The Environment Institute