On the Nature of Social-Ecological System Resilience: A Case Study on Cross-scale Dynamics of Social-Ecological Systems

The Danungdafu Forestation Area (DFA) represents one of the most controversial case concerning land use and indigenous rights in Taiwan. Since 2012, we have been studying this social-ecological system from interdisciplinary perspectives, which include researches on governance, wildlife ecology, land use change, ecosystem processes and services, citizen science, regional sustainability indicator, land use preference, and agri-environmental policy. Research findings show that, historically, the transformations of the DFA have been dominated by external systems. On the other hand, resilience of the DFA social-ecological system has been enhanced by proactive governance efforts since the last system transformation in 2002. This can be further attributed to the following factors: improved biological and livelihood diversity; promoted community participation and social learning; strengthened social networking; and an emerging cross-scale governance institution.

From a nested hierarchy perspective, the DFA is actually a subsystem of the Central East Rift Valley social-ecological system (CERV) in Eastern Taiwan. Moreover, both the DFA and CERV are subsystems of a larger system at the national level. A critical question concerning resilience would be, how subsystems interact with larger systems? More specifically, do larger systems nurture, or constrain recovery of system resilience of subsystems (the remember effect)? Does dynamics of subsystems influence the system resilience of larger systems (the revolt effect)? How do governance systems and actors govern cross-scale dynamics of these social-ecological systems? Answers to these questions can help scholars and general public understand the nature of social-ecological system resilience.

CC Meeting: 
Presenter: 
Tai.Hsing-Sheng: hstai@gms.ndhu.edu.tw

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