03 January 2013

Adaptive Processes



Definition: 
Adaptive processes are the structures, fluxes, and interactions that allow systems to adjust to sudden or gradual changes.  Social and biogeophysical features can contribute to the adaptive capacity of urban systems. 

Examples:
Adaptation is familiar and fundamental in evolution.  Evolutionary adaptations constitute the mechanisms that determine how an organism performs in a specific environment (Figure 1).  In evolution, adaptation is usually considered to be driven by genetics.  The genetic makeup of an organism is responsible for the physical, behavioral, physiological, and life-cycle attributes with which it confronts the external environment.  There is sometimes flexibility in adaptive features of organisms which can be influenced by events during development or acclimation to changed conditions.  Such plasticity itself, of course, has a genetic basis. 



Figure 1. A mayfly nymph, adapted to live in streams by its streamlined body shape, and behavioral tendency to cling to surfaces.  These adaptations help prevent these juvenile phases of mayflies from being swept away by normal flows.  http://www.glerl.noaa.gov



Adaptation can also be considered to exist in other ecological or social units because there are many mechanisms by which adjustment to an environment can be accomplished.  Ecological communities are assemblages of different organisms occupying a common habitat.  Communities can adjust to environmental changes through altered species relationships or three dimensional arrangement of the members in space.  Ecosystems can adapt through shifting the rates or pathways involved in the processing of water, energy, or matter, as well as through the allocation of structure to different forms and locations.  Social groups adjust via institutional, political, behavioral norms, and in the largest sense, culture.   An example of social adaptation is the initiation of the American system of public education, ideally aimed at training a workforce and preparing youth for civic engagement in the democratic process.  Settlement houses were a social adaptation to the migration of rural and foreign-born persons to growing industrial cities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Figure 2).  These institutions helped new residents adjust to an unfamiliar physical and cultural environment, and compensated for lack of resources in some cases.


Figure 2. Hull-House, Chicago, from the 1906-07 Hull-House Yearbook. This was the first settlement house in the United States.  The idea spread to many other cities, and over time, their identity as “settlement houses” declined as other constituencies besides immigrants were also served.  Today, many institutions modeled on the principles that guided the establishment of settlement houses continue to serve new, marginalized, or disempowered individuals and communities in cities and suburbs.  (Photo from the Jane Addams Papers Project)


In some of these examples the adjustment is intentional and planned.  However, in many cases, especially those involving genetic shifts, the adjustment is accomplished by the “blind” process of natural selection rather than intention of an organism or a group. 

Key adaptive processes can be identified in both the social and in the biophysical realms (Figure 3). 



Figure 3. Adaptive processes in both social and biophysical realms.  Together these features illustrate the kinds of things that contribute to the capacity of socio-ecological systems to adapt to changing conditions.  See Yohe and Tol (2002) and Walker et al. (2004) for examples of source lists. 


Why Important?
In socio-ecological systems where much of the structure and behavior is the result of intentional human control and intervention, it is important to know what features might make positive adaptation possible, and what features get in the way of desired outcomes in the system.   In designing more sustainable urban systems it is important to consider the social and biophysical options that are available.  Furthermore, how intervening in each one might affect others in both the social and biophysical realms is important.  These are the features that must be monitored, assessed, and modeled under in  changing environments or design scenarios.


For More Information:
Gunderson, L.H. and C.S. Holling, editors. 2002. Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island Press, Washington DC.
Folke, C., S.R. Carpenter, T. Elmqvist, L.H. Gunderson, C.S. Holling, B. Walker, J. Bengtsson, F. Berkes, J. Colding, K. Danell, M. Falkenmark, L. Gordon, R. Kasparsson, N. Kautsky, A. Kinzig, S. A. Levin, K.-G. Mahler, F. Moberg, L. Ohlsson, P. Olsson, E. Ostrom, W. Reid, J. Rockström, H. Savenije, and U. Svedin. 2002. Resilience and sustainable development: building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations. Ministry of the Environment, Stockholm.
Walker, B., C.S. Holling, S.R. Carpenter, and A. Kinzig. 2004. Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9:Article 5.
Yohe, G. and R.S.J. Tol. 2002. indicators for social and economic coping capacity -- moving toward a working definition of adaptive capacity. Global Environmental Change 12:25-40.

3 comments:

  1. FINANCIAL RESTORATION THROUGH THE HELP OF JASON RAYMOND OF FUNDING CIRCLE LOAN INC: (fundingloanplc@yahoo.com OR Call/Text +14067326622)..

    I'm Nathan Davidson a businessman who was able to revive his dying business through the help of a Godsent lender known as Jason Raymond the CEO of FUNDING CIRCLE INC. Am resident at 1542 Main St, Buffalo, NY.. Well are you trying to start a business, settle your debt, expand your existing one, need money to purchase supplies. Have you been having problem trying to secure a Good Credit Facility, I want you to know that FUNDING CIRCLE INC. is the right place for you to resolve all your financial problem because am a living testimony and i can't just keep this to myself when others are looking for a way to be financially lifted.. I want you all to contact this Godsent lender using the details as stated in other to be a partaker of this great opportunity Email: fundingloanplc@yahoo.com OR Call/Text +14067326622


    ReplyDelete
  2. No matter how old you are, family history is important. While you might not think so at the time, as you get older there will be things you and your grandchildren will want to know. Most of us don't realise it until the older generations are gone and you can't replace first hand comments. Don't just put in about the good times, add in the harder times and how you overcame those trials. Another thing to remember is what caused the deaths of those you loved. There are many things that have been found to continue into future generations that knowing it runs in the family can be helped with now or possible in the future. prevention starts with knowing where to start. I wish someone had taken the time to write these things down for mew to be able to go back to. My Grandmother and my mother told us many stories of what things happened in their lives and about the people in their lives. I now wish someone had written those things down since both have passed now. But I never thought at that busy point in my life that I would one day want to remember all those things. So much family history is lost when the older generations are gone. Please pass it on to your family while you can. You can even just do it digitally so it can be accessed by family later on.Family pictures are something to cherish also. Just be sure to write down who is pictured in them, where they are taken and when. I have found family pictures that no one now even knows who is in them.

    AKHERETEMPLE@gmail.com
    or
    call/whatsapp:+2349057261346

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of $250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of $250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius, call/whats-App Contact Number +918929509036 via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.

    ReplyDelete