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Landwirtschaftliche Fakultät - Jahrgang 2016


Titel Resilience, collapse and reorganization of a rangeland socio-ecological system in South Africa
Autor Sebastian Rasch
Publikationsform Dissertation
Abstract Communal rangelands in semi-arid areas are complex socio-ecological systems (SES). Their complexity arises from non-linear feedbacks between the social- and the ecosystem. To understand the social system requires tackling institutional issues associated with common pool resource governance. Moreover, assessing ecosystem dynamics commands to acknowledge high climatic variability in semi-arid areas.
This thesis quantifies the dynamics of a communal livestock production SES in a former homeland of South Africa using a SES modelling approach. Here, a social agent based model is combined with a biomass growth model of the rangeland. The coupling of both models is achieved by full integration on software (Java) level. Accordingly, the resulting model does account for ecological complexity. The latter constitutes a contribution to the methodological advancement of bio-economic modelling insofar as bio-economic models strongly simplify ecological processes. The SES model is specified based on primary data from a case study.
On a conceptual level, the three main chapters in this thesis investigate aspects of SES resilience, collapse and reorganization. Specifically, chapter two assesses social welfare impacts from reorganizing resource use by the adjustment of stocking rates and alterations of spatio-temporal grazing patterns. Chapter 3 explores the effect of a local norm on SES dynamics with a focus on collapse vs. stability. Finally, chapter 4 quantifies the resilience on multiple scales of the SES towards droughts, a loss of social embededdness and a significant change in subsidization.
We found that the adjustment of stocking rates yields higher social benefits compared to the (re)-introduction of rotational grazing in a system assumed to be void of institutional arrangements. In a second step, we identified the existence of a local norm indirectly impacting resource use by endogenous stocking rate adjustments. The existence of the informal institution significantly contributes to the long-term stability of the SES by reducing the chance for collapse. The emergence of norm-following behaviour is fostered by climatic variability. The SES was resilient towards droughts and a change in subsidization. It was however not resilient towards a loss in social embededdness. At another level, only the introduction of a basic income grant was able to stop a process of structural change eroding household resilience. The introduction of a basic income grant enabled poorer households to successfully compete with richer ones without jeopardizing the resilience of the coupled system.
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© Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn | Veröffentlicht: 24.05.2016