Resilience and adaptation in coupled physical, ecological and social systems
Ensuring sustainable environments, in a world where the climate and other conditions are changing, requires a new understanding of how physical, ecological and social processes are inter-related.
All of these processes are responsible for establishing quality of life and maintaining the natural environment, and understanding their coupled relationship is vital for adaptive systems of governance in a world of climate change and other challenges.
This programme seeks to combine social, biological and earth sciences to provide an interdisciplinary approach to environmental governance.
This involves new governance practices that are not only responsive, evidence-based and effective, but also flexible and adaptive enough to build sustainable places in ways that positively reinforce physical, ecological and social inter-relationships.
By aiming to understand these inter-relationships, the programme will aim to reduce the apparent governance ‘misfit’ between physical environments, eco-systems and social institutions. Exploration of how best to govern in the context of climate change vulnerabilities will lead not only to policy learning than can be applied in a specific UK context, but also will generate opportunities for policy transfer.
Initial work will include:
- Investigating the way in which the socio-physical matrix of urban and rural environments affect the viability of biodiversity and the ecosystem goods and services they produce (by degrading soil fertility, for example);
- Understanding the frequency, magnitude and social consequences of hazardous events, together with their implications for management at various governance levels (for instance, rivers at increased risk of flooding).
Initial place-based case studies will include the Severn Estuary catchment and the Kinabatangan catchment, Malaysia, home to a Cardiff University-sponsored field centre.
This programme involves strong collaboration across three Schools – Social Sciences, Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Biosciences