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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Modelling the dynamics of resilience in coupled social-ecological systems


The challenges and uncertainties of global change and the complexity and unpredictability of the dynamics of complex social - ecological systems demand for new approaches to ecosystem and resources management.

Strategies for adaptive management aim to strengthen the flexibility and resilience of the system to enhance its capacity to cope with unexpected change. Resilience is the potential of a system to remain in a particular configuration, to maintain its feedbacks and functions and to reorganise following disturbance driven change.

The dynamics of coupled social-ecological systems and factors determining their resilience are still largely unknown. The importance of feedbacks, self-organisation, structural characteristics, such as diversity, redundancy etc., have been recognized, but their integrated analysis and understanding needs further research.

The aim of the proposed research is to investigate system properties and processes that build and maintain a system's resilience. Special emphasis will be put o n the analysis of the dynamics of resilience in coupled social-ecological systems (SESs) to provide a basis for adaptive ecosystem and resources management.

This shall be achieved through cross-system analysis and the development of coupled models of ecological and social systems. Simulation models will be used to investigate the role of organisational structure, of processes at different scales, positive and negative feedbacks, information flow, level of interaction, and other factors for the resilience of the coupled system.

The project will focus on systems where people and ecosystems share a common resource, e.g. water, or where an ecosystem is managed by the people benefiting from its services.

The integrated human - nature system is treated as a complex adaptive system and tools and methods from complex systems research will be applied to study its dynamics and stability properties.

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Permoserstr. 15

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