Measuring social-ecological resilience reveals opportunities for transforming environmental governance
Anne K Salomon, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University; Hakai Institute
Allyson E Quinlan, Resilience Alliance
Gabrielle H Pang, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University; Hakai Institute
Daniel K Okamoto, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University; Hakai Institute; Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University
Leonardo Vazquez-Vera, Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C.
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Understanding the resilience of social-ecological systems can advance our ability to transform environmental governance and achieve ecologically sustainable and socially just outcomes. However, measuring this multidimensional emergent system property has been elusive. We translated theoretical principles of resilience into ecological and social metrics and used expert knowledge to assess how they have changed through three sequential governance regimes of the Pacific herring fishery in northwestern Canada. We showed a significant reduction in system-wide resilience between previous Indigenous and historical colonial governance regimes, and limited change with the onset of the latest environmental justice era. We also detected recent signs of recovery among several metrics of resilience, thereby signaling that this system exhibits the preconditions for governance transformation. Pinpointing the erosion and recovery of attributes that confer social-ecological resilience can reveal leverage points and highlight strategic pathways to enable deliberate transformation toward a more ecologically sustainable and socially just future.
adaptive governance; comanagement; complex adaptive systems; coupled natural and human systems; forage fish; Indigenous fisheries; small-scale fisheries
Copyright © 2019 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.