Spatial resilience: integrating landscape ecology, resilience, and sustainability

Cumming, Graeme S. (2011) Spatial resilience: integrating landscape ecology, resilience, and sustainability. Landscape Ecology, 26 (7). pp. 899-909.

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Landscape ecology has a high potential to contribute to sustainability in the interactions of people and nature. Landscape ecologists have already made considerable progress towards a more general understanding of the relevance of spatial variation for ecosystems. Incorporating the complexities of societies and economies into landscape ecology analyses will, however, require a broader framework for thinking about spatial elements of complexity. An exciting recent development is to explicitly try to integrate landscape ecology and ideas about resilience in social-ecological systems through the concept of spatial resilience. Spatial resilience focuses on the importance of location, connectivity, and context for resilience, based on the idea that spatial variation in patterns and processes at different scales both impacts and is impacted by local system resilience. I first introduce and define the concepts of resilience and spatial resilience and then discuss some of their potential contributions to the further interdisciplinary integration of landscape ecology, complexity theory, and sustainability science. Complexity theorists have argued that many complex phenomena, such as symmetry-breaking and selection, share common underlying mechanisms regardless of system type (physical, social, ecological, or economic). Similarities in the consequences of social exclusion and habitat fragmentation provide an informative example. There are many strong parallels between pattern-process interactions in social and ecological systems, respectively, and a number of general spatial principles and mechanisms are emerging that have relevance across many different kinds of system. Landscape ecologists, with their background in spatially explicit pattern-process analysis, are well placed to contribute to this emerging research agenda.

Item ID: 40971
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1572-9761
Keywords: complexity, fragmentation, framework, landscape ecology, resilience, robustness, social exclusion, social-ecological system, spatial resilience, vulnerability
Funders: DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town, Oppenheimer Foundation, Stockholm Resilience Centre
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2015 01:06
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 33%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 34%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified @ 33%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 33%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 33%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 34%
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