Evolutionary Resilience and Strategies for Climate Adaptation

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Authors: S. Davoudi, E. Brooks, A. Mehmood

Publication Year: 2013

Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2013.787695

Journal: Planning, Practice & Research

Volume: 28

Issue: 3

Categories: Change, Adaptive Management, Ecology, Resilience, Adaptive Management, Change, Ecology, Resilience


In their study the authors developed a framework for assessing resilience based upon three broad perspectives (engineering, ecological and evolutionary). They used this framework to critically examine the approach adopted by London’s Draft climate change adaption strategy. This strategy is to assess the consequences of climate change on London and to prepare for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather to protect and enhance the quality of life of Londoners. First of all they explained the different perspectives on the concept of resilience. The engineering perspective of resilience is described as the ability of a system to return to an equilibrium state after a temporary disturbance. The ecological perspective describes resilience as a measure of the ability of these systems to absorb changes and still persist. Engineering resilience focuses on maintaining efficiency of function, ecological resilience focuses on maintaining existence of function. The evolutionary perspective describes resilience as the ability of complex social-ecological systems to change, adapt or transform in response to stresses and strains. Second they propose their four-dimensional framework in context of socio-ecological systems for resilience building. This framework consists of four components i.e. persistence(learning capacity) , transformability(being innovative) , adaptability(being flexible) and preparedness(learning capacity). Third they use the framework to criticize the climate change adaption strategy. The study emphasizes that the strategy is mainly looking at resilience in an engineering and ecological order. In which resilience is used as bouncing back to where we were. The strategy should have focused in the context of planning what ought to be done in contrast with only responding to the challenges. And to end the strategy should have looked at humans which are capable of making conscious interventions into the process, and through such interventions, planned or otherwise, can diminish, sustain or enhance resilience. Which of course is in line with evolutionary resilience.