How can ecological resilience lead to the communities’ adaptation? (14738)
This paper examines the relationship between society and nature in the discourse of climate change adaptation. Using the resilience of social-ecological system theory, we present linkages of ecological resilience to the societal adaptation. Community forestry context of Nepal, which builds upon the decentralized governance, has been used as a case study to understand the interface between society and ecosystem. This paper has its implication in understanding adaptation of agrarian forest dependent communities, whose vulnerability is not limited to their sensitivity to climate change but also associated with the socially constructed phenomena of inequality and power.
It is found that community forestry has multiple sources of resilience, useful for both reactive and anticipatory adaptation. Parameters such as increased species diversity, preference of native species, sustainable forest product extraction were found to improve ecological resilience. Translation of those ecological parameters into societal adaptation was made possible through collective action, innovation and feedback mechanism. Nevertheless, as we found existing policies, socio-political and bureaucratic processes have hampered the potential of community forestry to deliver successful adaptation of vulnerable communities. Drawing upon the results of this study we discuss the strength of resilience theory in the context of social-ecological system for letting systematize knowledge on system’s property such as complexity, interconnectedness and cross scale (i.e. temporal and spatial). However we argue despite of providing a heuristic approach, resilience theory poses a short of explanation on how socio-political power play critical role in shaping our society and their adaptation.