An introduction to the resilience approach and principles to sustain ecosystem services in social-ecological systems

Author(s): Biggs, R. (Oonsie), M. Schlüter, M.L. Schoon
In: Principles for Building Resilience: Sustaining Ecosystem Services in Social-Ecological Systems
Year: 2015
Type: Book chapter
Link to centre authors: Biggs, Reinette (Oonsie), Schlüter, Maja
Full reference: Biggs, R. (Oonsie), M. Schlüter, M.L. Schoon. 2015. An introduction to the resilience approach and principles to sustain ecosystem services in social-ecological systems. In: Biggs, R. (Oonsie), M. Schlüter, M.L. Schoon (Eds.), Principles for Building Resilience: Sustaining Ecosystem Services in Social-Ecological Systems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK pp. 1–31

Summary

A major challenge of the twenty-first century is ensuring an adequate and reliable flow of essential ecosystem services to meet the needs of the world's burgeoning and increasingly wealthy population. This challenge needs to be addressed in the face of rapidly changin social, technological and environmental conditions that characterize the world today.

Social-ecological resilience is one fast-growing approach that attempts to inform this challenge and provide practical guidance to decision-makers and practitiones. The resilience approach views humans as part of the biosphere, and assumes that the resulting intertwined social-ecological systems behave as complex as adaptive systems - i.e. they have the capacity to self organize and adapt based on past experience, and are characterized by emergent and non-linear behaviour and inherent uncertainty. A rapidly growing body of research on resilience in social-ecological systems has proposed a variety of attributes that are important for enhancing resilience.

This book aims to critically assess and synthesize this literature. In this chapter we introduce the resilience approach and the process by which we identified seven feneric principles for enhancing the capacity of social-ecological systems to produce desired sets of ecosystem services in the face of disturbance and change.

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