Understanding Biocultural Indicators, Connections and Feedbacks
Across the Pacific, per capita food production and natural ecosystems have declined due to population growth, inadequate investment in agriculture, water and land scarcity, increasing costs, disasters, and urban migration coupled with increased dependence on imported foods. Given these changes and projected climate impacts, subsistence agriculture and coastal fisheries are projected to fail to support the food needs of many Pacific countries by 2030.
While substantial work has gone into conceptualizing resilience, methods for measuring and fostering resilience capacity are still elusive, in part because it is a continuous, complex, and dynamic process and operates differentially at multiple scales.
A major challenge in understanding resilience in place-based communities, such as many of those in the Pacific Islands, is that it requires an interdisciplinary framework that explicitly recognizes the links between sociocultural and biophysical characteristics and processes. A growing body of research has begun to explore some of these links by identifying socioeconomic drivers of coral reef state. However, this research largely lacks consideration of factors likely most critical to Pacific Island community resilience: biocultural connections.
Understanding biocultural indicators, connections and feedbacks requires overcoming two primary challenges:
- development of consistent methodologies to identify and measure them; and
- development of appropriate models to explore how their benefits are affected by social and environmental pressures.
Gaining this understanding is critical because too often resource management initiatives lacking a cultural context – an understanding of relevant biocultural indicators – for resource use have failed to achieve desired results and, worse, have sometimes weakened local, place-based action and responsibility.
Read about this Inquiry