Robustness of social-ecological systems to spatial and temporal variability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

235 Scopus citations


Some social-ecological systems (SESs) have persisted for hundreds of years, remaining in particular configurations that have withstood a variety of natural and social disturbances. Many of these long-lived SESs have adapted their institutions to the particular pattern of variability they have experienced over time as well as to the broader economic, political, and social system in which they are located. Such adaptations alter resource use patterns in time and/or space to maintain the configuration of the SESs. Even well-adapted SESs, however, can become vulnerable to new types of disturbances. Through the analysis of a series of case studies, we begin to characterize different types of adaptations to particular types of variability and explore vulnerabilities that may emerge as a result of this adaptive process. Understanding such vulnerabilities may be critical if our interest is to contribute to the future adaptations of SESs as the more rapid processes of globalization unfold.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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