Adaptive management and resilience of socio-ecological systems

Course Description: 

The course will introduce students to vulnerability and adaptation studies, including concepts, tools and methods of vulnerability, adaptation and resilience analysis, and management approaches developed with advances in adaptation science in mind. The focus will build on the theory of coupled socio-ecological systems (SES) characterized by high levels of complexity and uncertainty, including those associated with human activities and responses. The course will draw on examples from climate change adaptation case studies and practices, but its scope is broader, and other examples involving the stress, breakdown and reorganization of SES will also be covered. The importance of context in understanding and adaptively responding to slow-onset and rapid stress will be discussed for a variety of SES, including but not limited to forests, agroecosystems, coastal and small islands. The course will also include a review of adaptation in current climate negotiations and major adaptation-related practice oriented international networks and initiatives. 

Learning Outcomes: 

Understanding relevant theories, concepts, methodology and tools

Understanding various policy and management contexts and common problems of vulnerability and adaptation

Identifying and understanding V&A related stakeholder interests, ability to formulate, defend and critique positions on V&A grounded in particular perspectives and worldviews

Ability to conceptualize and frame a V&A problem, find related literature and data, interpret data, use the concepts, tools an methods covered in the course, and draw policy/management relevant conclusions


Class participation and discussion of readings (30%)

Take home exam (30%)

Final paper (40%)