An Ecological Risk Management and Capacity Building Model

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Worldwide, natural and human ecosystems are increasingly subjected to natural hazards due to global environmental change. Because these threats reflect interaction between social and ecological systems, effective Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) can best be accomplished by increasing community capacity to mitigate, cope with, adapt to, and recover from hazard consequences by developing DRR strategies that accommodate natural and human ecosystem interdependency. One reason of the widespread ineffectiveness in preparedness has been the neglect of environment/community interactions, and how community and individual variables interact with each other. To address this gap an all-hazard and inter-disciplinary literature review was conducted that synergized and integrated individual-level and environment/community-level factors. Based on the review a social-ecological model was developed. This model identifies a multitude of variables operating across a wide range of dimensions (i.e., individual, historical, physical/natural, social, spiritual/religious, economic, political) and different scales (i.e., individual, household, community organisations, businesses, local government, state government). Based on the review a holistic ecological all-hazard inter-disciplinary risk management and capacity building model was developed that describes how these factors interact to influence risk management and adaptive capacities. This holistic model provides a foundation and rationale for facilitating the capacity of all stakeholders in at-risk areas to develop comprehensive social-ecological relationships and researchers to investigate human-environment interactions in depth. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.




Buergelt, P. T., & Paton, D. (2014). An Ecological Risk Management and Capacity Building Model. Human Ecology, 42(4), 591–603.

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