Social Science Constructs in Ecosystem Assessments: Revisiting Community Capacity and Community Resiliency
Publication Year: 2007
Journal: Society and Natural Resources
This article explores the development of sociological constructs in community assessment components of large-scale ecosystem assessments. We compare the conceptual and operational development of the constructs of community capacity and community resiliency used in three community assessments in the western United States: the Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team, the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, and the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. The policy mandates, research goals, and methodologies of the assessments are considered in order to better understand the evolution of these constructs. We compare the constructs and find them similar in concept but slightly different in application. We suggest further conceptual refinement of community capacity and resiliency by distinguishing foundational assets from mobilizing assets. We present several methodological and theoretical challenges that, if overcome, may increase the effectiveness and relevance of community capacity or community resiliency as constructs in social science research and social assessment projects.