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Toward Operationalizing Resilience Concepts in Australian Marine Sectors Coping with Climate Change

Julie L. Davidson, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania; Australia’s Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources; Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
Ingrid E. van Putten, CSIRO Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research; Australia’s Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources
Peat Leith, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania
Melissa Nursey-Bray, Discipline of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide; Australia’s Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources
Elizabeth M. Madin, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Technology Sydney; Dept. of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
Neil J. Holbrook, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania; Australia’s Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Marine Biodiversity and Resources

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05607-180304

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Abstract

We seek to contribute to the scholarship on operationalizing resilience concepts via a working resilience indicator framework. Although it requires further refinement, this practical framework provides a useful baseline for generating awareness and understanding of the complexity and diversity of variables that impinge on resilience. It has potential value for the evaluation, benchmarking, monitoring, and reporting of marine system resilience. The necessity for such a framework is a consequence of the levels of complexity and uncertainty associated with climate change and other global change stressors in marine social-ecological systems, and the problems involved in assessing their resilience. There is a need for: (1) methodologies that bring together knowledge from diverse sources and disciplines to investigate the complexity and uncertainty of interactions between climate, ocean, and human systems and (2) frameworks to facilitate the evaluation and monitoring of the social-ecological resilience of marine-dependent sectors. Accordingly, our main objective is to demonstrate the virtues of combining a case study methodology with complex adaptive systems approaches as a means to improve understanding of the multifaceted dynamics of marine sectors experiencing climate change. The resilience indicator framework, the main product of the methodology, is developed using four case studies across key Australian marine biodiversity and resource sectors already experiencing impacts from climate and other global changes. It comprises a set of resilience dimensions with a candidate set of abstract and concrete resilience indicators. Its design ensures an integrated approach to resilience evaluation.

Key words

Australia; climate change impacts; marine sector; resilience assessment; resilience indicator
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087