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Interpreting and Correcting Cross-scale Mismatches in Resilience Analysis: a Procedure and Examples from Australia’s Rangelands

John A Ludwig, Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre and CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Mark D Stafford Smith, Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre and CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems


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Many rangelands around the globe are degraded because of mismatches between the goals and actions of managers operating at different spatial scales. In this paper, we focus on identifying, interpreting, and correcting cross-scale mismatches in rangeland management by building on an existing four-step resilience analysis procedure. Resilience analysis is an evaluation of the capacity of a system to persist in the face of disturbances. We provide three examples of cross-scale resilience analysis using a rangeland system located in northern Australia. The system was summarized in a diagram showing key interactions between three attributes (water quality, regional biodiversity, and beef quality), which can be used to indicate the degree of resilience of the system, and other components that affect these attributes at different scales. The strengths of cross-scale interactions were rated as strong or weak, and the likely causes of mismatches in strength were interpreted. Possible actions to correct cross-scale mismatches were suggested and evaluated. We found this four-step, cross-scale resilience analysis procedure very helpful because it reduced a complex problem down to manageable parts without losing sight of the larger-scale whole. To build rangeland resilience, many such cross-scale mismatches in management will need to be corrected, especially as the global use of rangelands increases over the coming decades.

Key words

Cross-scale interactions; land management; landscape processes; scale effects.

Copyright © 2005 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.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087