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Resilience and adaptability of rice terrace social-ecological systems: a case study of a local community’s perception in Banaue, Philippines

Adam C Castonguay, University of Kiel, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Department of Ecosystem Management; Monash University, Department of Civil Engineering
Benjamin Burkhard, University of Kiel, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Department of Ecosystem Management; Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)
Felix Müller, University of Kiel, Institute for Natural Resource Conservation, Department of Ecosystem Management
Finbarr G Horgan, Crop and Environmental Science Division, International Rice Research Institute
Josef Settele, UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research; iDiv, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle-Jena-Leipzig

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08348-210215

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Abstract

The social-ecological systems of rice terraces across Southeast Asia are the result of centuries of long-term interactions between human communities and their surrounding ecosystems. Processes and structures in these systems have evolved to provide a diversity of ecosystem services and benefits to human societies. However, as Southeast Asian countries experience rapid economic growth and related land-use changes, the remaining extensive rice cultivation systems are increasingly under pressure. We investigated the long-term development of ecosystem services and the adaptive capacity of the social-ecological system of rice terrace landscapes using a case study of Banaue (Ifugao Province, Northern-Luzon, Philippines). A set of indicators was used to describe and assess changes in the social-ecological state of the study system. The resilience of the rice terraces and the human communities that maintain them was examined by comparing the current state of the system with results from the literature. Our findings indicate that, although the social-ecological system has not yet shifted to an alternative state, pressures are increasing and some cultural ecosystem services have already been lost.

Key words

adaptive capacity; agroecosystems; complex adaptive systems; ecosystem services; human well-being; Ifugao Rice Terraces

Copyright © 2016 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.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087