Resilience in social-ecological systems: Models and field studies

sesync annapolis

Published on May 23, 2016

In this lecture on the foundations and current applications of resilience theory, Dr. Steve Carpenter overviews the major concepts and historical evolution of resilience thinking. He explains that resilience theory came out of an understanding of adaptive cycles, which have a stable front loop where changes are small or noncritical, and a chaotic backloop, where an accumulation of change eventually pushes a system to a tipping point and reorganization. He uses an example from a scenario planning project in northern Wisconsin to highlight the need to identify potential critical transitions and backloops before they occur, in order to build capacity in human systems to deal with uncertainty. He also highlights current thinking and writing from younger resilience scholars, which focuses on concepts and methods to better understand complex adaptive systems. These include maintaining heterogeneity and connectivity, broadening participation and identifying slow variables to help manage the state of the system. He concludes by noting that more work needs to be done in characterizing the backloops of systemic change, and highlights the use of scenarios and models to explore these changes before they occur.

More information on the Immersion Program and other lectures can be found here:….


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