Soil Erosion And The Adaptive Cycle Metaphor
Publication Year: 2005
Journal: Land Degradation & Development
The landscapes that we live in and the changes that they undergo play an important part in the qualities of our lives. They provide natural goods and services of value to us because of the existence of soil, which is a medium between the solid earth and the sphere in which we live our daily life. The medium soil is constantly subject to change and one of the causes is soil erosion. If one tries to understand or to deal with soil erosion it is helpful to consider soil as an integral part of continuously changing landscapes and to be aware of the different functions of a soil in its environmental context at different scales. To clarify this, we present three important concepts. These are: (1) scale/connectivity; (2) change; and (3) resilience. These concepts will be put in an innovative framework called the panarchy theory, which represents a hierarchical structure in which both human and natural systems are linked together in adaptive cycles. Presenting soil erosion in such a framework allows us to link causes and their impacts at different scales. The application of such a framework and the insight obtained could facilitate the assessment of risks and possibilities for sustainable use.