Wiki launch of the practitioner’s guide to resilience assessment

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Last week at Resilience 2008 in Stockholm, I gave a presentation on the Practitioner’s workbook Assessing and Managing Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems. The workbook incorporates key principles underlying resilience thinking and provides a framework for assessing the resilience of social-ecological systems and considering options to set the system on a sustainable trajectory. The workbook builds on research by RA members and others and while it offers neither a recipe for effective management nor a panacea for resource problems, it does provide a foundation for integrated resource management that takes into account cross-scale interactions, alternate regimes, change, and uncertainty.

In the spirit of knowledge sharing, and collaboration, a wiki version of the workbook was launched last week. The workbook wiki is aimed at those who have experience applying resilience concepts to social-ecological systems and who want to contribute to the on-going development of the resilience assessment guide.

Feedback from those who have used the resilience assessment workbook (first made available last July), identified some of the strengths and weaknesses of the original version as well as a few gaps. The wiki editorial team will begin organizing the development of new content and a bunch of new material that will be linked to the workbook including: thematic versions of the workbook (e.g. urban resilience, coral reef resilience); modules on participatory research, adaptive co-management, assessing ecosystem service tradeoffs, etc.; research methods; translations (Spanish, Russian, Swedish); new examples and case studies.

Discussions among those who have used the workbook highlight the need for many more examples and case studies of completed assessments. People want to know how others are applying the assessment process in different settings, how they are adapting it, what problems have arisen, and how they were dealt with. A large network of people who have completed resilience assessments will be encouraged to contribute their examples and case studies to the wiki. These entries will include authorship and be reviewed by editors.

2 thoughts on “Wiki launch of the practitioner’s guide to resilience assessment”

  1. Thanks for this opportunity to communicate openly about what to me looks like the proverbial “mother” of all global challenges: the human overpopulation of Earth in our time.

    It looks like humankind inhabits a tiny celestial orb that is miraculously set among of sea of stars. As far as we know, life as we know it exists nowhere else in the Universe. In the light of these one-of-a-kind circumstances, perhaps we of the human family have the responsibility of assuring the security for the future of life in our planetary home.

    I am trying to focus attention on the pressing need for human beings to protect and preserve the finite resources of Earth and its frangible ecosystems. If we fail to achieve this goal, then an unimaginably bleak future could await our children. In all the seriousness of what could be somehow true, I mean the children of my generation.

    If 6+ billion human beings live on Earth now and 9+ billion are expected to populate our small planet by 2050, then the human species simply cannot keep engaging in certain unbridled activities that we can see overspreading the Earth because the Earth has limited resources upon which all forms of life and human constructions like national economies utterly depend for existence. Without adequate resources and ecosystem system services of Earth, life as we know it and human institutions could collapse, I suppose.

    Now, some portion of the worldís human population conspicuously over-consumes the resources of our planetary home. Other people, working in huge multinational conglomerations, are operating businesses in a way that recklessly scours the oceans’ floor, decapitates mountains, turns biomass into human mass and, in these and many other ways, end up dissipating natural resources at such an alarming rate that the Earth has insufficient time to restore the resources for human benefit. Still other people in the family of humanity are overpopulating the planet. The leviathan-like scale and rapid growth of global human consumption, production and propagation activities are putting the Earth, life as we know it, and the human community in grave, clear and present danger.

    Elder human beings of the overdeveloped world, of whom I am one, are among the people in our planetary home who are ravenously over-consuming Earth’s resources. We could choose to consume less. People in the developing could choose to limit overproduction of unnecessary things, to stop ravaging the planet, and to contain industrial pollution. People in the underdeveloped world could limit their number of offspring. Perhaps these are some ways the family of humanity begins to respond ably to the human-induced global challenges that loom so ominously before humanity in our time.

    While I certainly agree that action should have been taken by my generation of old folks when we were young in the 60s and 70s, when we became aware of the “population bomb,” still we have responsibilities to assume and duties to perform, here and now, for the sake of our children, grandchildren and coming generations.

    The idea of making a conscious choice to do nothing in the face of the recognizably daunting global challenges that are visible before humanity on the far horizon is anathema to me.

    At a minimum, do we not have a “duty to warn” others of the potential for some kind of ecological catastrophe if the human community adamantly chooses to continue relentlessly down the current “primrose path” marked by soon to become unsustainable consumption, production and propagation activities now threatening to overwhelm the surface of Earth?

    Always with thanks,


    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

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