Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast


Conclusion 3: Very few programs reviewed in this assessment directly address resilience, and even fewer address resilience beyond the farm scale. Programs focused on resilience, especially as it functions across scale and between urban and rural areas, should be a priority.

The concept of resilience is most generally defined as “the ability of a system to sustain itself through change via adaptation and occasional transformation” (Magis 2010). Recent work on community resilience in urban and rural areas has taken an integrated approach, pointing to important social, ecological, economic, and cultural dimensions that must be taken into consideration when thinking about climate change adaptation and transformation, especially at the local, community scale (Berkes & Ross 2013). From this perspective, community resilience can be defined as the “existence, development an d engagement of community resources by community members to thrive in an environment characterized by change, uncertainty, unpredictability and surprise” (Magis 2010). As this definition highlights, resilience thinking is important not only in light of sudden disruptions, as in the case of a natural disaster, but also in the context of rising uncertainty and unpredictability as a result of lingering factors, including climate change, economic precarity, and others. Planning for and building resilience into institutions, programs, and policies is an essential part of confronting the multi-pronged challenges that working lands will face in the coming decades. While there were few programs in this assessment that explicitly dealt with questions of community resilience, those that do deserve to be mentioned, as they provide models for expanding upon or introducing new programs that prioritize ecological, community, and individual/business resilience. Urban and Community Forestry program (US Forest Service): o This program supports forest health through an integrated approach that creates jobs, contributes to vibrant regional wood economies, enhances community resilience, and preserves the unique sense of place in cities and towns of all sizes. Regional level • Community Resilience Building workshop (The Nature Conservancy, The Hudson River Watershed Alliance): o This program is a one-day, community-driven, and participatory workshop focused on improving local adaptation to flooding and other climate change consequences. National level •

State level •

Community Resilience Grants (Maryland Department of Natural Resources): o

This program provides grants and financial support to prepare communities for climate change-related events in Maryland.

• Farmer Resilience Grants (Northeast Organic Farmers Association [NOFA]): o

This program provides grants to farmers to support activities that enhance resilience with the understanding that a more resilient local food system contributes to overall community resilience.

From this brief review, it is clear that while there are important steps being taken to include resilience planning into policy and programming at various scales, there is still much work to be done. This is a crucial gap to be addressed in the U.S. Northeast, especially as broader questions of community resilience intersect with questions about the resilience of agricultural systems, forests, and working lands. Ultimately, as within all coupled socio-ecological systems, these different forms of resilience are interlinked. In that sense, not only does resilience thinking need to feature more prominently in policy and programming, but attention must be paid to how these various forms of resilience relate to each other and collectively produce more resilient, multifunctional landscapes, more broadly.


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