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A RESILIENCE APPROACH TO RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND GOVERNANCE. Brian Walker. Why is it, that despite the best of intentions.…. Western Australian wheatbelt. rangelands in Australia. alternate states in N. Hemisphere lakes.

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Presentation Transcript
slide6

Proposition 1 – there are two paradigms for managing natural resource systems:

  • MSY (maximum sustainable yield, in one form or another)
  • - Resilience management and governance
slide7

Problem assumptions with MSY

  • extreme events can be ignored
  • problems from different sectors don’t interact (but partial solutions don’t work)
  • change will be incremental and linear (in fact, it’s mostly lurching and non-linear)
  • keeping the system in some optimal state will deliver maximum benefits. (There is no sustainable “optimal” state of an ecosystem, a social system, or the world. It is an unattainable goal.)
slide8

Key assumptions underlying Resilience Management and Governance:

- SESs have non-linear dynamics and can exist in alternate stability domains (regimes)

- They go through different phases of organisation and behaviour

slide9

Proposition 2- Sustainable use and development rests on three capacities of social-ecological systems:

- resilience

- adaptability

- transformability

resilience
Resilience

“The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organise so as to retain essentially the same function, structure and feedbacks – to have the same identity”

(remain in the same system regime)

slide11

Adaptability

The capacity of actors in the system (people, in SESs) to manage resilience :

(i) change the positions of thresholds between alternate regimes

(ii) control the trajectory of the system – avoid crossing a threshold (or engineer such a crossing)

slide12

Transformability

The capacity to become a fundamentally different system when ecological, social and/or economic conditions make the existing system untenable.

slide18

∆Pw = 0

(courtesy Steve Carpenter)

slide20

The net effect of increasing level of grazing on rangeland composition

Feedback change: effect of grass biomass (grazing effects) on the intensity of fire

slide21

Feedback changes involved in regime shifts

controlling

variableassociated feedback changes

Rainfall – evapotranspiration; leaching; water table level

Temperature – soil moisture (E/T); germination (microclimate); symbiosis (coral bleaching)

Nutrients – O2 in water (decomposition); competition (plant species)

Acidification - calcification (diatoms)

Vegetation - water interception (cloud forests); infiltration rates; water tables; nutrients (legumes); soil temp (insulation)

Landscape cover - immigration/emigration rates; reproduction; survival

Herbivory - regeneration; competition; fire (fuel)

Harvesting - recruitment (depensation); E/T (forests)

Frequency - seed bank viability; regeneration time

(fires, fallows)

Predation - recovery (depensation); herbivore behaviour (spiders, wolves)

The economy - income:cost ratios; debt:income ratios

(markets)

Social preference - subsidies / taxes (through change in government)

slide22

Feedback changes involved in regime shifts

controlling

variableassociated feedback changes

Rainfall – evapotranspiration; leaching; water table level

Temperature – soil moisture (E/T); germination (microclimate); symbiosis (coral bleaching)

Nutrients – O2 in water (decomposition); competition (plant species)

Acidification - calcification (diatoms)

Vegetation - water interception (cloud forests); infiltration rates; water tables; nutrients (legumes); soil temp (insulation)

Landscape cover - immigration/emigration rates; reproduction; survival

Herbivory - regeneration; competition; fire (fuel)

Harvesting - recruitment (depensation); E/T (forests)

Frequency - seed bank viability; regeneration time

(fires, fallows)

Predation - recovery (depensation); herbivore behaviour(spiders,wolves)

The economy - income:cost ratios; debt:income ratios

(markets)

Social preference - subsidies / taxes (through change in government)

slide24

What determines resilience?

  • Diversity
  • Modularity (connectedness)
  • Tightness of feedbacks
  • Openness – immigration, inflows, outflows
  • Reserves and other reservoirs (seedbanks, nutrient pools, memory)
  • Overlapping institutions
  • Polycentric governance
slide27

Plant attributes determining ecosystem production

(available data)

  • height
  • mature plant biomass
  • specific leaf area
  • longevity
  • leaf litter quality
slide29

Heavily grazed site, close to water

- 4 of the dominant species gone

- 3 replaced by functional analogues

Without the response diversity (the existence of the functional analogues), a regime shift would occur – different controls and processes

slide30

- Ecosystem performance is promoted by high functional diversity (complementarity)

  • Resilience is promoted by high response diversity (in rainforests, coral reefs, lakes, rangelands)
  • ( cf Elmqvist etal; Response diversity, ecosystem change and resilience. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment)
slide31

SYSTEM “REGIMES” VS OPTIMAL STATES

)

(

Supply of ecosystem services as a function of ecosystem state

B - lake services (fish, recreation) as a function of phosphate in mud

A - rangeland services (wool production from grazing) as a function of shrubs

Vc - critical threshold demarcating a shift from one attractor to another.

slide32

N

Goulburn Broken Catchment – Victoria, Australia

slide33

% veg cleared in lower catchment

Simulated clearing history

equilibrium water table stable at surface

equilibrium water table stable & at surface

equilibrium water table stable & below surface

% veg cleared in upper catchment

slide34

SYSTEM “REGIMES” VS OPTIMAL STATES

)

(

Supply of ecosystem services as a function of ecosystem state

B - lake services (fish, recreation) as a function of phosphate in mud

A - rangeland services (wool production from grazing) as a function of shrubs

Vc - critical threshold demarcating a shift from one attractor to another.

slide35

N

Goulburn Broken Catchment - Victoria

slide37

Can revegetation happen fast enough to avoid equilibrium?

Is it worth trying?

Should they transform to some other kind of SES, to a different way of making a living?

slide43

Multiple, interacting thresholds

(Causse Mejan in France, a catchment in SE Australia, southern Madagascar, Western Australia wheatbelt)

Kinzig et al (2006, in press) Special Issue of Ecology & Society

slide44

the “HOT” model (J. Doyle, SFI)

general vs. specified resilience

resilience of what, to what?

slide45

There is a cost to resilience

short term cost of foregone extra ‘yield’

vs.

cost of being in an alternate regime

(cost x prob. of a regime shift)

cost of maintaining resilience (relatively easy to estimate)

vs.

cost of not maintaining it (difficult to estimate)

slide46

Managing resilience

- what determines Adaptability?

– social capacity (capital)

leadership

trust

  • - human capital (skills, education, health)
  • - financial resources
  • natural capital
  • ongoing learning
  • ?
slide47

What determines Transformability?

still learning – but seem to be three classes:

- preparedness to change (understanding, ‘mental models’, vested interests in not changing)

- capacity to change (leadership, knowledge, capitals, higher level support)

- options for change (diversity, knowledge of thresholds, experiments, markets,)

slide48

Managing resilience, and/or achieving a transformation, requires knowing where, how and when to intervene

Where - knowledge of potential and actual regime shifts in the system

How - knowledge of the resilience and transformability attributes

When - dictated by i) external events (crises and windows of opportunity) and ii) the phases of the system’s dynamics at various scales

slide49

K: conservation

things change slowly; resources ‘locked up’

r: growth / exploitation

resources readily available

K

r

Ω

a

a: re-organization/renewal

system boundaries tenuous; innovations are possible

W: release

things change very rapidly; ‘locked up’ resources suddenly released

slide50

K

r

Ω

a

slide52

Dangers of K-phase behaviour

  • increases in “efficiency” (remove apparent redundancies, OSFA solutions)
  • subsidies not to change (rather than to change)
  • sunk costs effects
  • increased command-and-control (less and less flexibility)
  • pre-occupation with process (more and more rules)
  • novelty suppressed, little support for experimentation
  • rising transaction costs (“metabolism” vs. growth)
  • increasing consequences of partial solutions

resilience declines

slide53

Success in intervening in a social-ecological system at a particular focal scale depends on where it is in the adaptive cycle, and the states of the system at higher and lower scales

policy (rules, laws)

financial (subsidies, infrastructure, technology, education ..)

management actions / techniques

slide54

The main messages:

  • sustainability ≈ resilience, adaptability, transformability
  • policy and management need to focus on the attributes that determine these three properties
  • alternate regimes are the norm; pay attention to feedbacks that change suddenly at some level of a controlling (slow) variable
  • “optimal” states reduce resilience -- top-down, command-and-control management doesn’t work for very long
  • you cannot understand or manage a social-ecological system (SES) by focussing at only one scale, or using solutions that are only ecological, social, or economic.
  • adaptive cycles and panarchy effects determine the success of interventions
slide55

Final proposition:

Indicators of system performance (including biodiversity status) interact.

Unless their changes are explicitly related to each other (especially slow and fast variables) they cannot be integrated, and they are of limited (dangerous?) use in policy development.