Typology of resilience

from the excellent Reports from a Wild Country: ethics for decolonisation
Deborah Bird Rose
UNSW Press 2004

In considering resilience we need to make a crucial set of distinctions between types of human action: anti-resilience, engineered resilience, and facilitated resilience. The first type is most evident in large-scale schemes of mass destruction of ecosystems: dams are a good example, but so are engineered forests and other plantation monocultures. (Scott 1998 provides numerous excellent examples.)
The key feature is that humans actively oppose and seek to suppress Nature’s own resilience. The second type, engineered resilience, compromises those efforts to force Nature to behave as humans would like nature to behave. Suppression of fire in national parks is a good example: the parks are there to protect Nature, but fire suppression damages Nature in the long run. Other examples include efforts to reclaim damaged places in order to put them in the service of human efforts. This type of human engineering works selectively to promote aspects of resilience deemed valuable to humans. In contrast, the third type, resilience facilitation, involves observing Nature’s own processes and then working to facilitate the conditions under which Nature’s resilience can flourish. This could mean leaving the place alone, or it could mean some form of active engagement with the place. In either case, it is almost certainly going to involve struggles with other people to try to prevent interventions that diminish or incapacitate resilience. These types are not totally discrete; there is overlap and there are fluctuation in thought and action.
Page 48

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One Response to Typology of resilience

  1. Antonio Dias says:

    There is a forth way, nomadism. When something happens that is a short term negative from within a limited human perspective, move on.

    That doesn’t work well with 7 billion…

    That doesn’t mean that a fourth option, do nothing, isn’t still the right one. The others are all of a piece in that they bet our knowledge trumps reality in its infinities. Always a bad bet in any long run.

    Off to the Casino? I hear roulette is a sure thing!

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