The cooperative Cultivate Ireland has created a new video on community resilience for its ‘resilience month.’ The film uses surfing change as a metaphor for different aspects of resilience building.
The video fits well with the Transition Town movement, but recognizes that resilience has two faces both persistence and transformation.
The video is promoting a report – Carnegie Trust’s Exploring Community Resilience which can be downloaded (pdf). The report is built on a wide variety of approaches to resilience but recognizes the influential work of Buzz Holling and the Resilience Alliance.
Age of Arctic Sea Ice in February 2008. The February 2008 ice pack (right) contained much more young ice than the long-term average (left). In the mid- to late 1980s, over 20 percent of Arctic sea ice was at least six years old; in February 2008, just 6 percent of the ice was six years old or older.
Old sea ice, which had survived several summers, used to dominate the sea ice of the winter Arctic. However, today less than half of the sea ice at winter maximum has survived at least one summer. NOAA’s climatewatch has a video of the loss of arctic sea ice.
A great picture of the organic complexity of the Yukon River Delta from NASA EOS. They write:
The Yukon River originates in British Columbia, Canada, and flows through Yukon Territory before entering Alaska. In southwestern Alaska, the Yukon Delta spreads out in a vast tundra plain, where the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers meander toward the Bering Sea.
The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus on the Landsat 7 satellite acquired this natural-color image of the Yukon Delta on September 22, 2002. Looking a little like branching and overlapping blood vessels, the rivers and streams flow through circuitous channels toward the sea, passing and feeding a multitude of coastal ponds and lakes.
The Yukon Delta is an important habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds, and most of the protected refuge is less than 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level. Over such low-lying, mostly treeless terrain, the rivers can change course frequently and carve new channels to find the fastest route toward the sea. The pale color of the sea water around the delta testifies to the heavy sediment load carried by the rivers.
I did a google search that found a bunch of nice and not so nice diagrams in Ecology and Societyy, which is the main journal publishing research that uses the term social-ecological system (at least according to ISI’s web of science). Below is a sampling of images, and below that a few examples.
I’ve recently been teaching about social-ecological systems and because I think it is important to conceptualize systems graphically these discussions caused me to reflect on the conceptual diagrams of social-ecological systems
Conceptualizing something as a social-ecological system hides some aspects of reality to focus on others. Social-ecological systems focus on the interactions and
Factors that distinguish social-ecological systems from other approach feedbacks between social and ecological, in particular how social and ecological alter one another and “co-evolve.”
As a systems approach it focuses on structures and processes, but because it comes from a resilience orientation in is particularly interested in how these structures persist and reorganize in response to shocks, gradual changes, or purposeful transformations.
Below are a number of different takes on conceptual diagrams of social-ecological systems that I think show some different aspects of social-ecological systems.
There are many other conceptual diagrams of social-ecological systems and I’d welcome any comments that point to other papers that have particularly interesting or different conceptual diagrams.
Chapin, F.S., Lovecraft, A.L., Zavaleta, E.S., Nelson, J., Robards, M.D., Kofinas, G.P., Trainor, S.F., Peterson, G.D., Huntington, H.P. & Naylor, R.L. (2006) Policy strategies to address sustainability of Alaskan boreal forests in response to a directionally changing climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103, 16637-43. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0606955103
At the USDA Forest Service’s Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC), we are exploring webcrawlers to facilitate wildland threat assessments. The Threat Center was established by Congress in 2005 to facilitate the development of tools and methods for the assessment of multiple interacting threats (wildfire, insects, disease, invasive species, climate change, land use change)
much of the online data is stored in large institutional data warehouses (Natureserve, Geodata.gov, etc.) that have their own catalog and searching systems and are not open to webcrawlers like ours. In fact, most federal land management agencies do not allow services to their data, but allow downloading and in-house viewers (i.e. FHTET 2006). This policy does not simplify the problem of integrated threat assessments for federal land management agencies.
The group is now developing a more powerful webcrawler. You can find and search the database for geospatial data and map here. Still a long way to go it seems, but a very important first step!
SOME people recite history from above, recording the grand deeds of great men. Others tell history from below, arguing that one person’s life is just as much a part of mankind’s story as another’s. If people do make history, as this democratic view suggests, then two people make twice as much history as one. Since there are almost 7 billion people alive today, it follows that they are making seven times as much history as the 1 billion alive in 1811. The chart below shows a population-weighted history of the past two millennia. By this reckoning, over 28% of all the history made since the birth of Christ was made in the 20th century. Measured in years lived, the present century, which is only ten years old, is already “longer” than the whole of the 17th century. This century has made an even bigger contribution to economic history. Over 23% of all the goods and services made since 1AD were produced from 2001 to 2010, according to an updated version of updated version of Angus Maddison’s figures.
The history of goods and services in some ways can be roughly considered as humanity’s impact on the planet. But that view assumes that economic activity has been consistent in its impacts on the planet.
By all accounts, jellyfish are creatures that kill people, eat microbes, grow to tens of meters, filter phytoplankton, take over ecosystems, and live forever. Because of the immense diversity of gelatinous plankton, jelly-like creatures can individually have each of these properties. However this way of looking at them both overstates and underestimates their true diversity. Taxonomically, they are far more varied than a handful of exemplars that are used to represent jellyfish or especially the so-called “true” jellyfish. Ecologically, they are even more adaptable than one would expect by looking only at the conspicuous bloom forming families and species that draw most of the attention. In reality, the most abundant and diverse gelatinous groups in the ocean are not the ones that anyone ever sees.