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Introduction to the book

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2014

Johan Rockström
Affiliation:
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Malin Falkenmark
Affiliation:
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Carl Folke
Affiliation:
Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics, Stockholm
Mats Lannerstad
Affiliation:
Stockholm Environment Institute
Jennie Barron
Affiliation:
Stockholm Environment Institute
Elin Enfors
Affiliation:
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Line Gordon
Affiliation:
Stockholm Resilience Centre
Jens Heinke
Affiliation:
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and International Livestock Research Institute
Holger Hoff
Affiliation:
Stockholm Environment Institute
Claudia Pahl-Wostl
Affiliation:
Universität Osnabrück
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Summary

Scope of the book

This book aims at synthesising our current state of knowledge and probing the key area of how recent insights from social–ecological systems and resilience research influence our understanding of water resource governance and management in a world subject to rapid global environmental change. It advances a proposed new framework on ‘water resilience’ as an integral part of sustainable water resource management. We have a focus on ecosystem services in productive landscapes, especially food production (and bioresources), seen from the perspective of land, water, ecosystem interactions and resilience building. Focus is on water resources from local to global scale, exploring dynamic interactions between sectors, components of the Earth system and scales. The book will therefore only briefly address water quality issues. The water resource focus of the book includes water flows from the local water balance to the global hydrological cycle – i.e. the governance and management of precipitation, vapour flows, as well as surface and sub-surface runoff flows and resources. It is, furthermore, global in scope, even though a particular focus is set on the regions of the world facing the most challenging future in terms of water resource scarcity and water resilience challenges related to current and future global environmental change. This means that a particular focus is given to the semi-arid and dry sub-humid tropical savannah regions of the world.

The water and ecosystems focus of the book, places the emphasis on the relations between freshwater and the living systems in the biosphere. The book thus takes as a starting point the role of water resources in the generation of ecosystem functions and services from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and how these define the resilience of ecosystems; how human interactions with water impact on ecosystem and resilience; and how innovative water governance and management principles can be applied to human challenges in an era of rapid global changes. In essence we attempt to advance a social–ecological systems approach to water resilience for human prosperity in the Anthropocene.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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