Systems with high adaptive capacity are able to reconfigure themselves without significant declines in crucial functions in relation to primary productivity, hydrological cycles, social relations, and economic prosperity. A consequence of a loss of resilience, and therefore of adaptive capacity, is loss of opportunity, constrained options during periods of reorganization and renewal, and an inability of the system to do different things.
The effect of this is for the SES to emerge from such a period along an undesirable trajectory, lowering environmental security.
Are there elements that sustain adaptive capacity and management (see Adaptive Management and Integrative Assessments) of SESs in a world that is constantly changing? Addressing how people respond to periods of change, how society reorganizes following change, is the most neglected and the least understood aspect in conventional resource management and science.
Resilience is the key to enhancing adaptive capacity. It is possible to identify and expand on four critical factors that interact across temporal and spatial scales and that seem to be required for dealing with natural resource dynamics during periods of change and reorganization:
• learning to live with change and uncertainty;
• nurturing diversity for resilience;
• combining different types of knowledge for learning; and
• creating opportunity for self-organization toward social-ecological sustainability.
To assess determinants and constraints of environmental security, a conceptual model can be adopted like drivers, pressures, state, impacts, responses (DPSIR) model (Figure 1). The assessment of threats directly refers to risk assessment, that is, socioecological system fragility at multiple scales and levels of social organization. Within socioecological landscapes, the agents and factors determining and constraining environmental security can be represented in terms of driving forces, pressures, states, impacts, and responses, according to the DPSIR scheme adopted in the EU (Figure 1).
These items are arranged with respect to different steps of environmental agency. Within all these steps, effects can lead to modifications of environmental security. Land use provokes a change of landscape states (including states with increasing risks), and this modification effects modifications of ecosystem or landscape services (e.g., including reduced provisions of focal goods and regulations). As a consequence, several items of human well-being will be changed, leading to new societal demands, drivers, and motivations (including
security-relevant developments in the society). These items influence the environmental decision processes in correlation with external constraints, and finally new opinions on how to cope with the environment will be realized in political decision processes.
The ecological key variable within this human-environmental cycle is ecosystem or landscape integrity. In some interpretations, integrity is strongly related to the idea of wilderness, other authors refer to a social value perspective, and in a third group of interpretations integrity represents a complex systems approach, which is mainly based upon variables of energy and matter budgets and structural features of whole ecosystems.
Taking into account the focal ideas of the security concept, it is possible to use an alternative formulation for the ecological components of sustainable development: 'meet the needs of future generations' in this context means 'keep available ecosystem services on a long-term, intergenera-tional and, on broad scale, intragenerational level'. From a synoptic viewpoint at the categories of ecosystem services, one fact becomes obvious: all ecosystem services are strongly dependent on the performance of the regulation functions. The correlated processes do not only influence production rates and supporting services, but in the long run they also determine the potentials of ecosystems to provide provisioning and cultural services.
If we take into account that the integral of the regulation services represents self-organized processes in ecosystems, it becomes clear that the respective benefits are strictly dependent on the degrees and the potentials of self-organization. To maintain these services, the ability for future self-organizing processes within the respective system has to be preserved. Applying this viewpoint, we can define ecological integrity as a 'political target for the preservation against nonspecific ecological risks that are general disturbances of the selforganizing capacity of ecological systems. Thus, the goal should be a support and preservation of those processes and structures which are essential prerequisites of the ecological ability for self-organization'. Such an adaptive management (see Adaptive Management and Integrative Assessments) strategy, which contains flexible reactions, attempting to improve the regulation capacities of ecosystems, could be a very effective means to foster environmental security.
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