Fundamental processes and resilience

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Research Group: Fundamental Processes and Resilience

Focus of Our Research

Resilience is the important ability of communities, or physical, chemical or biological systems, to ‘bounce back’ from, for example, some kind of disturbance, shock, dynamic natural process, environmental disaster, or disease outbreak. However, the fundamental processes which lead to system resilience or lack of resilience are not well understood. CAWR’s research therefore focuses on advancing knowledge on the underlying processes that promote resilience in food and water systems.

For example, understanding the fundamental processes that enhance, – or undermine - ,  the resilience of water systems is an important part of CAWR’s research. Here, we focus in particular on: 

  • River instability processes
  • Climate impact on hydrological systems
  • Water pollution, including the rise of a new generation of contaminants
  • Urban water: rapid global urbanization is a poorly understood threat to water systems

Hydrological systems can be affected at different scales of space and time by, for example, disturbance from climate impacts, such as intense flood-producing rainstorms and glacial melt, and other environmental pressures such as urbanization, industrialization, accelerated land use change such as deforestation and anthropogenic pollution.

We can learn much from studying these unstable systems, and deciphering what processes generate such instability in the same way that medical scientists study human disease. Researching and modelling such fundamental underlying processes allows us to identify, quantify, and understand the role of key interacting dynamics which promote or restrict resilience in food and water systems.  This new knowledge will make possible the use of smarter mitigation measures and policies to promote resilience at different scales, – from communities to whole landscapes and regions.

Theme Contact

If you wish to find out more about this theme, please get in contact with Damian Lawler