Indigenous Perspectives on Social-Ecological System Resilience: A Case Study from the Peruvian Amazon



Schierbeek, Elizabeth M

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Humanity is a driving force in creating change, including within social-ecological systems. Resilience thinking has emerged as a means of analyzing and influencing these changes and has the potential to be particularly useful to Indigenous Peoples. However, Indigenous perspectives are largely lacking on social-ecological system resilience. Our study provides insight into Indigenous perspectives on social-ecological system resilience through the case study of the Maijuna and Kichwa Indigenous Peoples and their ancestral lands in the Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area ecosystem. Our study is centered on the proposed Bellavista – Mazán – Salvador – El Estrecho megadevelopment road project, a disturbance presenting the capacity to generate profound social-ecological system change. Our findings highlight the interconnections between the Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area social-ecological system and the Maijuna and Kichwa cultures, including the impact of culture on system resilience. Additionally, we demonstrate the present vulnerability of the system and provide priority objectives for maintaining and building resilience. By integrating Indigenous perspectives, our study bridges diverse knowledge systems and facilitates the discovery of solutions to the complex social-ecological challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders working to build resilience in Indigenous social-ecological systems.


This thesis has been embargoed for 2 years. It will not be available until August 2022 at the earliest.


Community-based participatory research, Culture, Maijuna, Kichwa, Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area, Resilience thinking