Strengthening the adaptive and transformative capacity of local groups through resourceful environmental practice is of pivotal importance to the building of community resilience. The ESRs will explore varying states of adaption and transformation in the relations between community groups and their surrounding natural resource base.
This will include cases where community members have already contributed towards building local resilience by valorising natural resources as multifunctional community assets or finding ways to adapt their use in accordance with changing environmental conditions. In parallel, they will also explore the relationship between adaptability and transformability.
Cases selected for in-depth study will include (for example): cases where local resources come to be regarded as liabilities, as sites of high risk, or as contributors to community vulnerability and environmental injustice; cases where the actions, interventions and control of external actors have resulted in suppressing the possibility for local residents to transform resources for community benefit; cases where a history of detrimental or extractive relations has resulted in a local environment afflicted by hotspots of extreme degradation, dereliction, contamination and risk; and cases in which, due to inherent levels of socio-economic vulnerability and deprivation, whole communities have become alienated from their local environmental resource base.
Guided by principles of participatory action research the ESRs will investigate if and how (and for whom) reconnecting and empowering communities in their relations with their local resource base can support a transition from a position of relative weakness to one of strength.