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  • Complex Socio-Ecological

    Dynamics driven by Extreme

    Events in the Amazon

    Apresentao II Reunio do INCLINE

    So Paulo- 7 e 8 outubro 2013

    Patricia Pinho

    Center for Earth System Science, INPE

    So Jos dos Campos, Brazil

  • Defining Adaptation

    An adaptation, also called an adaptive trait, in biology is a trait

    with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is

    maintained and evolved by means of natural selection.

    Adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to

    the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation.

    Adaptations contribute to the fitness and survival of individuals.

    Organisms face a succession of environmental challenges as they

    grow and develop and are equipped with an adaptive plasticity as

    the phenotype of traits develop in response to the imposed


    The developmental norm of reaction for any given trait is essential

    to the correction of adaptation as it affords a kind of biological

    insurance or resilience to varying environments.

  • Thinkers of Adaptation

    Lamarcks is a proto-evolutionary

    theory of the inheritance of acquired

    traits , whose main purpose is to explain

    adaptations by natural means.

    He proposed a tendency for organisms

    to become more complex, moving up a

    ladder of progress, plus "the influence of

    circumstances", usually expressed as

    use and disuse. His evolutionary ideas,

    and those of Geoffroy, fail because they

    cannot be reconciled with heredity.

  • Darwin broke with the tradition by emphasising

    the flaws and limitations which occurred in the

    animal and plant worlds.

  • Many other students of natural history

    Before Darwin and Wallace, the concept of adaptation was accepted , and some also accepted evolution, without voicing their opinions as to the mechanism.

    The real merit of Darwin and Wallace, and later Bates-> putting forward a mechanism whose significance had only been glimpsed previously.

    A century later, experimental field studies and breeding experiments by such as Ford and Dobzhansky produced evidence that natural selection was not only the 'engine' behind adaptation, but was a much stronger force than had previously been thought

  • The process of adaptation is never finally complete

    the environment changes little, and the species comes to fit its

    surroundings better and better.

    the environment occur relatively rapidly, and then the species

    becomes less and less well adapted.

    Seen like this, adaptation is a genetic tracking process, which

    goes on all the time, but especially when the population cannot or

    does not move to another, less hostile area.

    Mayr, Ernst (1982) Freeman, S.; Herron, J.C. (2007).

    Some Key Concepts about Adaptation

  • Adaptation and Environmental Change :

    How ? Discuss here how adaptation has been used on the Global Environmental

    Change / Climatic Change forum.

    The concepts of resilience, vulnerability, and adaptation are used to

    analyze these and similar events. While these concepts are

    becoming more important within the global change research

    community, they do have diverse and somewhat separate

    intellectual histories (Jeansen & Ostrom 2006).

    adaptation in society we need to understand the underlying causes of

    vulnerability and mechanisms that enhance or undermine resilience given

    a profound analytical investigation;



    * index is key to public policy and decision makers -> socioeconomic

    development programme;

  • the hurricane Katrina (2005)

    the Southeast Asian tsunami


    Pakistan earthquake, together

    with the bird flu (2005)

    continuing droughts in Africa,

    dramatically illustrate the

    potential vulnerability of

    human society to disturbances

    and variability (Jansen &

    Ostrom 2009).

    International broadcasted Events

  • all emphasize the importance of including both

    social and ecological systems as well as their

    mutual interactions when studying their dynamics

    Confusions the use of

    socio-ecological systems (Gallopin et al., 1989)

    socialecological systems (Berkes and Folke, 1998)

    coupled humanenvironment systems (Turner et al., 2003)

    Ostrom s review socio-ecological system approach (2011)

  • resilience determines the persistence of relationships within a system and is a measure of the ability of these systems to absorb changes of state variables, driving variables, and parameters, and still persist.

    Holling (1973, p. 17)

    Vulnerability is defined in different ways, but it generally

    includes the attributes of persons or groups that

    enable them to cope with the impact of disturbances,

    like natural hazard -> livelihoods framework (Ribot,

    2005; Adger et al. 2009; Scoones 1999)

  • Adaptation to environmental variability has been a focus of anthropologists since the early 1900s. In the 1990s, scholars began to use the term adaptation for the study of the consequences of human-induced climatic change, without explicitly relating this back to the conceptual origins in anthropology (e.g., see Adger et al., 2005).

    Adaptation is generally perceived to include an adjustment in socialecological systems in response to actual, perceived, or expected environmental changes and their impacts.

    Case study analysis tends to be more prominent in this literature than mathematical modeling.

  • Problem with Sociobiologists - >

    applying concepts borrowed from

    Ecology and animals patterns and

    interactions to human society- >

    Fitness ; optimal foraging theory,

    cost best analysis, etc.

    Hindus and Westerners alike see

    in the meat-eating taboos of India a

    triumph of morals over appetite.

    This is a dangerous

    misrepresentation of cultural

    processes. Hindu vegetarianism

    was a victory not of spirit over

    matter but of reproductive over

    productive forces.Marvin Harris,

    Cannibals and Kings: Origins of


  • CO2 Increase Ozone depletion

    Northern Hemisphere Temperature increases Number of Climatic Disasters Increase

    Anthropogenic evidence of Earth System Alterations over the last


    Steffen, W. et al 2003. IGBP 3rd Synthesis Book Global Change and the Earth System

  • Rainfall Vale do Itaja (2008)

    Floodings in theAmazon (2009)

    Rainfall So Paulo (2010)

    Rainfall Rio de Janeiro (2010)

    Rainfall Alagoas (2010)

    Rainfalls/Landslides Ilha Grande (2010)

    Drought Solimes river (2010)

    Storm Agatha Central America (2010)

    Drought S. Venezuela (2009)

    Intense rainfalls S.Brazil/Uruguai (2009)

    Rainfalls/Landslides Andes Central Peru (2009)

    Heat Wave Santos (2010)

    Some extreme unusual events during 2007-2010- South America

    Cold Wave Bolivia (2010)

    Floods Colombia (2008)

  • The Amazon Basin

    Largest Track of Tropical Forest in

    the World

    up to 25% of all recognized

    terrestrial plant species

    Global Provider of Ecosystem

    Services :

    regulating hydrological cycles

    water quality

    nutrient cycling


    cultural services

    (Putz F and M 1993, Putz FE et al. 2008,

    Asner et al. 2006, Azevedo-Ramos et al. 2006,

    Merry et al. 2006, Menton et al. 2009)

  • The two regions of case

    studies in the Amazon

    Pinho et al in review

  • Developmentalists Programme : Agricultural expansion, Markets, Institutional

    Arrangements which influence the spatial and temporal patterns of deforestation.

    Pristine forest and drivers of socio-ecological change

    INPE- Prodes 2010

  • Climatic and Hydrological Regime

    Constant Temperature

    around the Year

    Interannual Variability

    associated with raining

    and hydrological Patterns

    Rainfall 2460 mmy-1

    Drainage Area 6112 000


    Annual Mean Discharge

    209 000 (m3s-1)

    Tomasella, Pinho et al 2012

  • The ecosystem: alternation between

    aquatic and terrestrial phases.

    Floodplain locally

    known as vrzea.

    Seasonal alternations of

    aquatic and terrestrial


  • The flow of the rivers and the flood pulse

    Dictates the ecological patterns

    Human settlement

    Land tenure

    Production (economic activities)

    Social organization


    Pinho et al 2012, ; Junk 1997, Lima, 1999.

  • Hidden Social Dimension

    30 million people living in the region

    29 % of the population is indigenous but also rich diversity of other ethnic groups, including Afro-Brazil