Community-led reforestation: cultivating the potential of virtuous cycles to confer resilience in disaster disrupted social–ecological systems

Summary

Human relationships with trees can result in widespread citizen-led reforestation projects that catalyze social–biological-reinforcing feedback loops and set in motion virtuous cycles that restore perturbed social–ecological systems. These virtuous cycles confer resilience in such systems that counterbalance the tendency for vicious cycles to be triggered by destructive behavior and neglect. Given this argument, we ask: how do we cultivate the potential for virtuous cycles to confer resilience in social–ecological systems? To answer this question, we review feedback mechanisms and identify virtuous cycles catalyzed via ecological restoration to highlight their importance to the resilience of social–ecological systems. We then conceptualize these cycles with a causal map (also known as a causal loop diagram) illustrating an example where restoration activities and civic ecology practices contributed to feedbacks and virtuous cycles. Following from this example, we discuss approaches for recognizing and investing in virtuous cycles that accompany social–ecological systems and outline approaches for managing such cycles.

Information

Link to centre authors: Elmqvist, Thomas
Publication info: Tidball, K.G, Metcalf, S., Bain, M., Elmqvist, T. 2017. Community-led reforestation: cultivating the potential of virtuous cycles to confer resilience in disaster disrupted social–ecological systems. Sustain Sci https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-017-0506-5

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