Operationalization of SESs and links with vulnerability framework

This first working package has the objective of operationalizing the SES in terms of its boundaries and main variables. Whereas the existing works developed by Hinkel et al. (2015), Schlüter et al. (2014) and Bennett and Gosnell (2015) have operationalized the SES at a generic level using sub-systems that represent the different landscape social-ecological entities (stream, forest agriculture, farmers etc.), we will define SES in an interlinked manner as part of larger SES or meta-SES. This spatialization will be done by combining homogeneous governance and biophysical criteria. In a second step, we will do a literature review to identify the 2nd and 3rd level variables. Finally, we will validate this first operationalization with two workshops.


In particular, WP1 will consist on:

Spatial delineation of SESs:

  • Using existing statistics we will build a spatial explicit mapping of agricultural (type of production system and crops), poverty, biophysical (slope, land cover) and land tenure (private vs community property) indicators in order to identify homogeneous patterns. These SESs will be identified as SES 1, SES 2 and so forth.


Identification of 2nd and 3rd level variables and interactions:

  • Second, we will perform a literature review in order to identify 2nd and 3rd level variables and interactions that are pertinent for describing the identified SESs (See Annex 1).


Identification of the links between SES key variables and climate change vulnerability:

  • Following Bennett et al. (2016) vulnerability framework we will identify which SES key variables correspond to exposure (e.g. defined by climatic history and climate change scenarios), sensitivity and adaptation (e.g. access to human, social, physical, financial and natural assets, capacity to organize, leadership, learning and knowledge, imaginative resources and capacity to self-organize).

Validation workshops with stakeholders –

Identification of local indicators of climate change:

  • In order to validate the conceptual operationalization of the rural-watershed in SESs we will conduct at least participative workshops. The workshops will gather local actors –farmers, technical intermediaries, local community leaders, local authorities- and regional and national actors in different occasions, in order to frame the discussions to the geographical scale in which actors feel more confident. We expect local actors to bring local indicators of climate change while regional and national actors will have a better understanding of the interactions, outcomes and external settings (e.g. drivers of change).







Maria Perevotchikova


Driss Ezzine-de-Blas