The Resilience Alliance

Country: EU Projects
Start Date:           Duration:          Project Type: 
Contract Number: 
Organisation Type:  University research group / research institute
Diffuse pollution-->Diffuse pollution overview
Soil-->Soil Overview
Water and sanitation-->Water and sanitation Overview
Water resources and their management -->Water resources and their management Overview
Project objectives:
OUR RESEARCH AGENDA - Envisioning Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems  
Guiding Questions:  
* How does resilience manifest itself in different systems?  
* What are the properties of systems that make them more or less resilient?  
* What are the attributes of SESs that cause them to gain or lose resilience and adaptive capacity?  
* How do we measure resilience?  
* How do we recover resilience and adaptability in systems where they are being eroded, and enhance them in systems undergoing change?  
* What are the relationships between resilience, adaptability and transformability? 
Project Summary:
The Resilience Alliance is a multidisciplinary research group that explores the dynamics of complex social-ecological systems (SESs) in order to discover 
foundations for sustainability. Established in 1999, the RA is supported by an international network of member institutions that includes universities,
government, and non-government agencies. It has two main activities - a Science Program and a Communications and Outreach Program The RA's Science program integrates theory development with a set of case studies that together support continued breakthroughs in our understanding of
the dynamics of systems of people and nature. The Communications and Outreach program aims to build capacity among a global community of researchers, practitioners,
stakeholders, and policy makers, through a variety of knowledge-sharing and network-development initiatives.
Achieved Objectives:
We are in the process of establishing a new program of research, building on the work over the past few years.  Some existing work will continue, in the form of on-going 
research by members in a number of regional SESs. The kinds of resource-use systems include: Lakes used for fishing and/or recreation Marine systems Semi-arid rangelands used for livestock production Irrigated agricultural systems Forest regions involving conservation, harvesting and/or conversion to agriculture Subsistence agriculture based on mixed systems of livestock and cultivation Urban systems Ancient and historical systems - A deep time analysis of resilience For the past three years the RA has been involved in a series of comparisons of some 15 case studies in such regional SES, involving two workshops in which the
regions were compared in terms of their resilience. The results of this work will appear in 2005 as a special edition of the journal Ecology and Society.
Product Descriptions:
Communications has the task of developing a communications program, building on and extending the existing development and use of the RA Portal.  
Education  A primary activity will be the initiation of an open source RA library of resilience analysis and teaching tools.    
The RA Workbooks   
Resilience Alliance Portal   
Ecology and Society journal  ( 
Additional Information:
The next phase of RA research will consist of two main streams - I. a set of four main research projects, and, II. an associated cross-cutting program of theory 
development. I. Regional Research Themes 1. Water, agriculture, land-use and resilience 2. Resilience and long-term human well-being in regions with reserves 3. The resilience of marine systems 4. Urban resilience II. Cross-Cutting Theory Development 1. A new theory program is under development (led by Steve Carpenter, Carl Folke and others). The thrust is to gain a better understanding of transformations
in SESs that have been subject to great disturbance, or that for some other reason are changing radically. The backloop is the most mysterious and unpredictable
phase of change in complex systems, yet also the phase where the most exciting, influential and novel events happen. Briefly, the program will have five interlocking
elements, each involving several RA researchers and nodes. 2. An on-going project on thresholds and regime shifts. It began as a joint initiative with the Santa Fe Institute's 'Robustness' project with an evolving
database of threshold examples, available on the RA website. The aim is to develop a typology of thresholds in ecosystems and social-ecological systems. The
database will shortly be of sufficient size to warrant initial analyses aimed at a typology of thresholds and regime shifts. Integration of I. and II. Analyses of resilience, adaptability and transformability in SESs for the development of guidelines and principles for interventions in regard to (i)
governance (including institutions and policy), (ii) investment, and (iii) management, aimed at enhancing long-term net social benefit.A variety of methods
and approaches are being used to tackle this research agenda.
Project Resources:
Funding Programme(s): 
Link to Organisations:
Submitted by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  28/09/2007 15:05:00