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Robustness and Resilience across Scales: Migration and Resource Degradation in the Prehistoric U.S. Southwest

John M Anderies, School of Human Evolution and Social Change and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA
Michelle Hegmon, School of Human Evolution and Social Change Arizona State University, USA


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Migration is arguably one of the most important processes that link ecological and social systems across scales. Humans (and other organisms) tend to move in pursuit of better resources (both social and environmental). Such mobility may serve as a coping mechanism for short-term local-scale dilemmas and as a means of distributing organisms in relation to resources. Movement also may be viewed as a shift to a larger scale; that is, while it may solve short-term local problems, it may simultaneously have longer term and larger scale consequences. We conduct a quantitative analysis using dynamic modeling motivated by an archaeological case study to explore the dynamics that arise when population movement serves as a link between spatial scales. We use the model to characterize how ecological and social factors can lead to spatial variation in resource exploitation, and to investigate the circumstances under which migration may enhance or reduce the capacity of the system to absorb shocks at different scales.

Key words

degradation; migration; natural resources; resilience; vulnerability

Copyright © 2011 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087