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Developing a panarchy model of landscape conservation and management of alpine-mountain grassland in Northern Italy

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  • Ian David Soane
  • Rocco Scolozzi
  • Beatrice Marelli
  • Cristina Orsatti
  • Klaus Hubacek
  • Alessandro Gretter
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    Abstract

    This paper explores methods of applying resilience theory to a case study of natural resource management and the cultural landscape of upland and alpine pasture in northern Italy. We identify that the close interaction between alpine pastures and its managers offers a strong fit with the concept of a social-ecological system that maintains the cultural landscape. We first considered a descriptive approach looking historically at socio-economic development in the study area. We explored whether this can be related to resilience phenomena such as regime shifts, thresholds and/or regime stability through adaptive processes. However, we found it difficult at this overarching level to conceptually combine natural and social capital of alpine pastures and their managers in any quantitative way. We also interpreted our data through considering economic, social and ecological information as acting within separate but interacting domains. This led us to construct conceptual models of adaptive cycles to describe the alpine mountain grassland ecosystem of our study site and to conclude that a panarchy model can offer a powerful metaphor for its ecological dynamics. This has practical implications both for the management of Natura 2000 interest and the maintenance of the cultural landscape in which this Alpine interest occurs. We suggest that Resilience theory through its dynamic approach of interacting scales of adaptive cycles offers useful insights into the resource management (of valued cultural and natural attributes) but that care is needed in distinguishing between descriptive metaphor and predictive model or "real" system.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Public policies and local development in its series Openloc Working Papers with number 1107.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpol:1107

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    Keywords: natural resource management; natural and social capital;

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    1. James C. Cox & Elinor Ostrom & James M. Walker & Jamie Castillo & Eric Coleman & Robert Holahan & Michael Schoon & Brian Steed, 2007. "Trust in Private and Common Property Experiments," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2007-11, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
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