As the science of environmental change matures, change --both natural and human-induced -- has come to be seen as an ever-present force, shaping societies and ecosystems. By crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries, social and natural scientists use complemetary perspectives to understand how complex systems respond to large and small disturbances.
Several ECI researchers received small grants for exploratory research from NSF to quickly set up research programs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. They examined what factors affect a community’s ability to rebound from the ecological, social, and economic damage of such disasters.
The dramatic connections between social and ecological structures evident on the Gulf Coast will help to define new approaches to such complex problems in other contexts.
Two symposia at national scientific meetings (Ecological Society of America and American Association for the Advancement of Science) also address the topic of resilience to ongoing environmental change.