Under a changing climate

Social-ecological systems are composed of geo-biological and physical units interlinked with human-based social units and institutions, in which climatic hazards can serve as catalysts for changes of the complete system. The dependence of a specific social system on an ecosystem such as forests is linked to vulnerability and resilience to natural disturbances, such as extreme weather events. This research aims to enhance the understanding of the dynamics between ecological and social systems of forest dependent communities, in particular with respect to extreme weather events. It focuses on the role of livelihood shifts, resilience and coping methods in a social-ecological system. In a case study approach, 50 households in three flood-affected indigenous Takana communities in Northern lowland Bolivia were examined, prior to and after the 2014 floods, to identify changes in income activities, livelihood strategies and forest use and products.  Understanding the effects of changes in the ecological system on the social system allows to enhance specific climatic preparedness and to increase livelihood resilience, as well as potential positive or negative feedback loops of the social system on the ecological system.