Why are some conservation projects more successful than others? Why do some communities cooperate on conservation projects whereas others do not? Is it possible to use a set of diagnostic tools to assess whether a community is on a sustainable path or not? Is the social-ecological system resilient to impending disturbances? These are some of the questions driving Icon's sustainability research. We believe that finding answers to these questions will help our work to build sustainable and resilient social-ecological systems. Ultimately, our sustainability research is at the heart of our conservation programs with success measured against whether our work has enhanced the sustainability of the social-ecological system.
1. Enhance the sustainability and resilience of the social-ecological system in focus
2. Help Icon make better decisions and give more effective policy advice
3. Understand design principles that lead to more sustainable outcomes
4. Predict how attributes of a social-ecological system may affect and be affected by the socioeconomic, political, and ecological settings in which they are embedded
This project will concentrate on two social-ecological systems in East Kalimantan and will use Ostrom’s framework (see Ostrom 2007, 2009, 2010) for diagnosing the sustainability of SESs and key concepts from resilience. The concept of resilience is capturing interest across academic, policy and popular debate. The aim of resilience based stewardship is to keep a social-ecological system within a desirable configuration that will continue delivering ecosystem goods and services and prevent a shift into an undesirable state. Doing so involves looking at disturbance events (flooding, deforestation, etc), issues of concern for the communities involved, governance and having a thorough understanding of the ecological system itself.
Brent Loken is principal investigator on the sustainability studies in Wehea. He is Executive Director of Integrated Conservation, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholar, Vanier Scholar and currently a P.h.D student at Simon Fraser University. Brent has been involved in work with Wehea since 2009.