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A Typology for Complex Social-Ecological Systems in Mountain Communities

Altaweel, M; Virapongse, A; Griffith, D; Alessa, L; Kliskey, A; (2015) A Typology for Complex Social-Ecological Systems in Mountain Communities. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy , 11 (2) Green open access

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Abstract

The efficient assessment of social-ecological systems is crucial for supporting increased resilience of human communities. One challenge for researchers and managers is that few frameworks exist to assess social-ecological resilience and vulnerability for different landscapes. Mountain landscapes offer management challenges because of their valuable ecosystem services, varying biophysical characteristics, steep gradients, and the socioeconomics of human communities that are distributed across watersheds. Despite this, many mountain communities and regions lack effective management plans to enable adaptive responses to changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions. Assessing the vulnerability and resilience of mountain communities in a standardized manner is an important step in developing adaptation strategies. To help fill this gap, we investigated the utility of a conceptual social-ecological systems typology by assessing 21 mountain communities in the western United States. Our results show that larger cities or urban areas are generally more resilient than smaller communities, but the difference does not seem to be significant. Where there are resilience differences they are often found between communities of different population sizes. However, no community in the Western United States is seen as highly vulnerable to social-ecological change. More broadly, development of such standardized social-ecological systems typologies that are region-specific can be applied towards accommodating other unique environmental niches, while allowing for cross comparisons between regions on a broader continental scale.

Type: Article
Title: A Typology for Complex Social-Ecological Systems in Mountain Communities
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://sspp.proquest.com/a-typology-for-complex-s...
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Altaweel et al. CC-BY Attribution 4.0 License.
Keywords: Classification, local communities, montane environments, ecosystem resilience, environmental sociology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474444
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