SS 6 - Social and Ecological Gradients and Mechanisms of Resilience in Rangelands

Monday, August 6, 2012: 10:15 AM-11:30 AM
Portland Blrm 256, Oregon Convention Center
Nathan F. Sayre, University of California, Berkeley
Elizabeth King, Princeton University
Rangelands are key sites for understanding resilience for several reasons: (1) they span wide biophysical gradients; (2) they are semi-natural systems, affected by human uses but dominated by natural vegetation; and (3) they are inhabited and used by people, chiefly for grazing livestock but in widely varying ways. In short, rangelands are tightly coupled social-ecological systems, well suited to explorations of resilience to both human and biophysical disturbances. In support of the 2012 Annual Meeting theme of “Preserving, Utilizing, and Sustaining our Ecosystems,” this Special Session will examine the social and ecological mechanisms that make rangelands more or less resilient to disturbances such as grazing, drought, and climate change. Representatives of the sponsoring ESA Rangeland Ecology section, including Joel Brown and Jay Angerer, and 1-2 invited speakers from the broader NGO and practitioner communities, will initiate discussions with short presentations addressing inherent (biophysical) differences in resilience; legacy effects of human uses on resilience; ecosystem management for resilience to climate change; and technologies for enhancing resilience. We will summarize the results in a publication. We anticipate the following benefits from the Special Session and its products: (1) The interface of social-ecological resilience theory and environmental management will be of broad interest to ESA membership; (2) The diverse membership of the Rangeland Ecology section, including academia, land-owners, governmental and NGO programs, and international aid organizations, will provide a candid assessment of the utility of resilience theory in real world management activities.
See more of: Special Session