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Ghide Habtetsion Gebremichael 26/01/2015
Adaptability, Resilience and Transformability: a historical ecology of a traditional furrow irrigation system on the slope of Mount Kilimanjaro.
MA Thesis project by Sabath Sunday.
The thesis tries to explore within three theoretical frame works of related attributes of social–ecological systems (SESs) to determine their future trajectories: resilience, adaptability, and transformability. Resilience (the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks) has four components—latitude, resistance, precariousness, and panarchy—most readily portrayed using the metaphor of a stability landscape. Adaptability is the capacity of actors in a system to influence resilience (in a SES, essentially to manage it). There are four general ways in which this can be done, corresponding to the four aspects of resilience. Transformability is the capacity to create a fundamentally new system when ecological, economic, or social structures make the existing system untenable. The thesis seems containing a lot of terms to be elaborated in depth. Refereeing the following books could be advantageous (Holling 1973, Gunderson and Holling 2002).
Thus, with the above background the thesis will explore the social-ecological systems (SESs) a case study of the traditional furrow irrigation system on the slope of Mount Kilimanjaro. I would like to recommend if the research stressing on the four terms of resilience (latitude, resistance, precariousness, and panarchy) and explore in depth. However as the terms seems interconnected a holistic approach in all the terms is also good. The approach of the research looks interesting but it needs some review on the number of interviewee. As he presented his preliminary proposal, he said that he is going to make an interview with more than 200 individuals and household. Though it is good for accuracy of the research, he should aware also on time constraint.
Methodologically it was designed with the assumption of using a mixed method of both qualitative and quantitative. One of the methods specified on the thesis-SPSS software should also need clear understanding on its applications and data analyzing system. The research seems depending more of qualitative data. Methods like archival research, group and individual interview and especially elder once, house hold surveys and land scape walking and observation look very feasible.
In the entry point, it would be clearer if the terms should be defined precisely. For example he didn’t mention the four terms of Resilience which in my view seem very vital for the research.
The project has the potential for further research if the research done in the specified area would be applicable for another area. For instance I am not sure if the specified method under research is more applicable to solve other environmental problems. Nevertheless, researching their deep philosophical approach to their environment would seem more interesting in to the applications of another area.
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