Friday, August 7, 2009: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Blrm C, Albuquerque Convention Center
Joanna L. Nelson
Erika S. Zavaleta
Joanna L. Nelson
Our symposium explores the bridge from basic research to practical thinking about how to bolster ecological and social resilience in the face of directional environmental changes. Our primary goal is to link work on rapid ecosystem changes, increasing variability, and uncertainty about the future to specific strategies to support ecosystem functioning and human well-being into the future. Speakers will present a range of proposed and operational strategies for tackling restoration, conservation, forest management, and the maintenance of land-based livelihoods under climate and other global changes.
Many such strategies converge on resilience as a valuable guiding principle in a time of rapid and unpredictable environmental change. Managing for resilience – a measure of the amount of perturbation a system can absorb while retaining the same controls on structure and function – calls for a shift from pursuit of specific landscape or ecological objectives towards the core goal of long-term sustainability within acceptable bounds. Regardless of what other goals we manage for, such as biodiversity, nature-culture connections, or ecological integrity, we need to consider whether the systems we steward will be able to weather unprecedented rates and types of change. Depending on location, these might include climate change, fire ignitions, and intensive human use, as well as changing values, technology, and economic pressures.
Speakers will include both researchers and practitioners based in academic, federal agency, and state government institutions. They include individuals involved in planning for and managing ecosystems and in operationalizing the concept of resilience. Our speakers will address resilience-based research and practice in Arctic rural subsistence communities and protected areas, and the use of scenarios and other tools to address variability for planning for climate change. The session is structured to present theoretical and experimental work on social-ecological resilience, adapting restoration approaches, and the challenges of forecasting ecological responses to expected climate changes. We will then hear from managers and policy-makers about tools they are using to take action despite the realities of uncertainty, directional change, and increasing variability. Resilience-based planning places a premium on flexibility to respond to future conditions. At the close, we will encourage questions from the audience and discussion among the speakers in a panel format.