Science and socio-ecological resilience: examples from the Arizona-Sonora Border

Barbara J. Morehouse, Daniel B. Ferguson, Gigi Owen, Anne Browning-Aiken, Pablo Wong-Gonzalez, Nicolás Pineda, Robert Varady

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The Greater Sonoran Ecoregion (GSE), spanning the U.S.-Mexico border between Arizona and Sonora, faces myriad biophysical and social challenges to maintaining long-term socio-ecological resilience. Concepts of socio-ecological resilience and transformability provide a foundation for examining interactions between society and nature, and between society and science. An analysis of three case studies reveals that the GSE is becoming ever more vulnerable to systemic changes that will have serious consequences for the environment and society alike. While much more knowledge needs to be developed in both the biophysical and social sciences, there is an equally pressing need to bring social values and practices more closely into alignment with the resources and limitations of the coupled system itself. Improvements in science-society interactions are also needed. Threats to the GSE can only be addressed through long-term programs having the ultimate goal of preserving the system's human and ecological integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-284
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Institutions
  • Socio-ecological resilience
  • Transformation
  • U.S.-Mexico border

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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