To what extent are human societies adapting their capacity for learning and foresight to deal with new global challenges?
The organizers of the Resilience 2008 conference agree with the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment that the capacities of societies to manage the earth's ecosystems are evolving more slowly than humanity's [over]use of the same systems. A deeper understanding of coupled social-ecological systems undergoing change is essential in this context. There is a dynamic interplay between periods of gradual change contrasted with the appearance or anticipation of rapid change. The capacity of social-ecological systems to revive and reorganize following sudden change is central in the resilience
context. The implications for current management and policy are challenging. This
"resilience lens" is what the Resilience Conference wishes to emphasize.
We encourage submissions of papers for presentation, panel sessions and workshop sessions and other ways of presenting and discussing that combines theory and practice, inductive and deductive work and is founded on real world examples and insights. The overall framework of the Resilience 2008 conference stresses the following features:
• society and nature represent truly interdependent social-ecological systems
• social-ecological systems are complex adaptive systems and
• cross scale and dynamic interactions represent new challenges for governance and management in relation to interdependent social-ecological systems and ecosystem services.
The following overall themes have been proposed to help shed light on the issues, with a few tentative sub-themes to be expanded and further developed during fall 2007. Each overall theme will have presentations in plenary.
1. Resilience, global change, and globalization • Drivers of social-ecological change across landscapes and seascapes
• Assessing and managing regional social-ecological resilience
• Shocks and social-ecological security
2. Traps, regime shifts and transformations • Collapse and renewal in society and culture
• Poverty traps and critical transitions
• Mental models, opinion shifts, tipping points
3. Adaptations and sources of resilience for dealing with change • Resilience challenges of vulnerable peoples and places
• Social-ecological sources for adaptation and transformation
• The practice and policy of social-ecological resilience
4. Knowledge management and social-ecological learning • Social learning, knowledge systems and transition arenas
• New modes of knowledge production
• Creative conversation about the future: stories, scenarios, and models
5. Adaptive governance and multilevel challenges • Adaptive management for emergence, agency, leadership, actor groups,
• Social networks, boundary and bridging organizations,
• Evolution of norms, polycentric and multilevel institutions, governing complexity
6. Complex systems, resource management and economic development • Biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human wellbeing,
• Accounting for regime shifts and changes in ecosystem services
• Complexity, spatial dynamics and economic policy
In addition, the Resilience 2008 conference will focus on the following thematic areas
7. Urban social-ecological system challenges
8. Freshwater, food and ecosystem services in production landscapes
9. Coastal and marine social-ecological challenges