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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Taking a landscape perspective on social and ecological resilience Seminar

7 May 2020
via Teams

Event details

Geography & Environmental Science Seminar

Even under current climate conditions, it is difficult to predict how a complex system such as a forest ecosystem or agriculturally dependent community will respond to a climate shock. While our knowledge of these systems is dramatically improving, our accelerating carbon emissions are rapidly changing the conditions under which these systems have evolved. Globally, we need to balance efforts to mitigate carbon emissions while attempting to adapt to the novel climate conditions we are creating; hence, the interest in concepts like resilience and resistance. Resilience and resistance can be conceptualised as emergent properties of a complex system. Resilience is often measured as the rate at which a system can recover following a disturbance, while resistance refers to the ability for a system to absorb a shock with minimal change in function. Therefore, considering the variability in climate conditions and their impact on forest or farm productivity will be necessary for supporting climate resilient or resistant communities. Often these impacts act over a landscape, whereby forests or farms can be positively or negatively affected by the proximity to or size of intact natural systems, which suggests that achieving resilience or resistance will require spatially coordinated planning.

This talk will present some of our latest findings from smallholder coffee and cocoa landscapes in Ethiopia and Ghana impacted by the recent 2015/16 El Niño as well as discussion of the latest metrics on estimating forest resilience to accelerating climate change.

Speaker Information

Dr Alexandra Morel, University of Dundee, Department of Geography and Environmental Science.

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