Enhancing the Resilience of Human-Environment Systems: A Social Ecological Perspective

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"Resilience studies build on the notion that phenomena in the real world should be understood as dynamic social-ecological systems. However, the scholarly community may not be fully aware that social ecology, as a conceptual framework, has a long intellectual history, nor fully cognizant of its foundational theory. In this article, we trace the intellectual roots and core principles of social ecology and demonstrate how these principles enable a broader conceptualization of resilience than may be found in much of the literature. We then illustrate how the resulting notion of resilience as transactional process and multi-capital formation affords new perspectives on diverse phenomena such as global financial crises and adaptation to environmental stresses to communities and ecosystems. A social-ecological analysis of resilience enables the study of people-environment transactions across varying dimensions, time periods, and scales. Furthermore, in its openness to experiential knowledge and action research, the social ecology framework coheres well with participative-collaborative modes of inquiry, which traverse institutional, epistemological, and scale-related boundaries."
human-environment interaction, resilience, social capital, ecology