Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems

MW 1:30-3:20, Denny 401

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Course Requirements
Class Project
E-mail the class
Discussion Board

1. Key Concepts
2. Key Concepts Cont.
3. Sustainability
4. China Example
5. Commons
6. Anthropology
7. Management
8. Critiques
9. Resonances

The Resilience Alliance
Ecology and Society

Class Schedule: Week 1, Key Concepts

Monday, April Fool: To begin with, we need to get up to speed ahead of time on the basic concepts we will be discussing, using, and evaluating. For today, read the little primer by Walker and Salt, Resilience Thinking, and just to get used to using the class Go-post board, by 10:00 a.m., please post 100-200 words about what you hope to accomplish in this seminar. Come to class prepared to be quizzed gently on your understanding of the following key concepts:

Negative and Positive Feedback
Complex Adaptive System
System variables
Slow Variables
Engineering Resilience
Ecosystem Resilience
Basins of Attraction
System Flips
Regime Shifts
Ecological Surprises
Cross-scale interactions
Adaptive cycle

Wednesday, April 3: Today we plunge headlong into the core texts of the resilience discourse. The temptation on my part is to have us read way more than we can possibly read. Nevertheless, two things seem essential. The first is C.S. Holling's original 1973 article that started the resilience movement, Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. The second is chapters 1-3, pages 3-102) of the "bible" of the resilience movement, Gunderson and Holling's Panarchy. This book is, I suspect, more revered than actually read, because of the density of its chapters. But if we are going to appreciate and, more importantly, try to use, or even more importantly, evaluate its conceptions and insights, we need to know them in their original, difficult, un-dumbed-down form.

So go at it. By 10:00 a.m., please post Two questions from Holling's article or the Panarchy chapters that you think we should discuss in class. For class, we will work off of your questions to discuss the important issues raised in the material. As we do so, we will attempt to chart, on the chalkboard, the key concepts of each chapter and the ways they are connected to each other. In the case of each concept, I will ask you to provide examples that are not among those cited by the authors. This will provide you with the initial practice in using resilience concepts that you will need for your projects later on in the quarter.