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Understanding the Resilience of Socio-Ecological Systems to the Impacts from Chronic Pressures
Mulvaney, K., Marty Chintala, R. Martin, M. Mazzotta, N. Merrill, AND C. Wigand. Understanding the Resilience of Socio-Ecological Systems to the Impacts from Chronic Pressures. International Symposium for Society and Re, Houghton, MI, June 22 - 26, 2016.
This conference abstract is for the International Symposium for Society and Resource Management Conference to be held in Houghton, Michigan in June, 2016. This work presents early insights for our social-ecological resilience work for Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This conference is a useful venue for receiving feedback from social science experts on our new project, and that feedback can be incorporated into further research design as the project progresses.
As understanding of the resilience of social-ecological systems to disasters has increased, a concurrent understanding of the resilience of those systems to chronic problems has not. To address this need, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is piloting a research effort to further understand how nutrient enrichment and climate change are affecting and may affect the social capacity, ecological integrity, and economic prosperity of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Cape Cod is a tourism-based economy that also supports a community of year-round and seasonal residents. Little is known about the differences in these groups’ attitudes and values towards or their recreational use of the area’s diverse waterbodies. Our work focuses on the influences of nutrient enrichment and climate change impacts on the use of and attitudes towards these different waterbodies by the three types of community members. This work will highlight critical ecosystem services in the different waterbodies that are of importance to the different types of community members, thereby emphasizing the social impact potential for resilience within the system. Additionally, we seek to compare the ecological, economic, and social benefits and barriers of different types of alternative technologies for nutrient abatement and climate change adaptation, including waste water treatment plants, oyster reef restoration, salt marsh restoration, and permeable reactive barriers. This allows us to better understand the possibilities for reducing the ecological impact and exposure to nutrients and climate change in the social-ecological system. Together, these research efforts seek to identify components of vulnerability and opportunities for improvement in a tourism-based social-ecological system threatened by nutrient enrichment and climate change.