Monday 5
Social-Ecological Resilience, Climate Change and Adaptive Water Governance of Regional Scale Water Systems in the United States
Nils Ferrand, Lance Gunderson, Barbara Cosens
› 11:00 - 18:00 (7h)
› Béziers
Social-Ecological Resilience, Climate Change and Adaptive Water Governance of Regional Scale Water Systems in the United States
Lance Gunderson  1@  , Barbara Cosens * @
1 : Emory University
Dept. of Environmental Studies 400 Dowman Drive Atlanta, GA 30322 USA -  États-Unis
* : Corresponding author

We propose an interdisciplinary dialogue that will discuss findings and progress on integrating resilience, climate change and governance in five case studies in the US; Columbia River, Platte River, Klamath River, Rio Grande River and the Everglades of Florida. The session will discuss barriers and bridges to integrating ecological theory with legal and governance frameworks in the context of a changing climate. The results are an outcome workshops supported by the US Social Ecological Synthesis Center (SESYNC). 

 Water, in addition to its role in sustaining human life, supports ecosystems that provide many of the services society relies on. In order to provide a reliable set of services, most United States water based systems are heavily managed and characterized by aging infrastructure, degraded ecosystems, multiple laws, rules and regulation as well as a complex set of institutions that govern these systems. Our past and current governance of these major water systems has not placed them on a path toward sustainability, as these systems are characterized by crisis and gridlock and continued erosion of ecosystem services. While climate change accelerates the potential for conflict, it also presents a window of opportunity in which policy makers may feel sufficient need for response. Resilience thinking provides a bridging concept between knowledge of the biophysical system and governance principles to move systems of water and society to a more sustainable future. Facilitating sustainability should involve the development of new models of law that merge concepts of ecological resilience with social processes that are viewed as legitimate, equitable and just by the participants in a democratic society, recognizing the need for pragmatic linkages between current governance systems and new approaches. Achieving this level of integration between ecological concepts and governance requires a dialogue across multiple disciplines, including ecologists with expertise in ecological resilience, hydrologists and climate experts, with social scientists and legal scholars. 



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