Community Resilience

Resilience research addresses the ability of communities to maintain function under stress or return to normal function after disturbance. Resilient rural communities with high adaptive capacity have strong leadership, can take advantage of new opportunities and technologies, and have diverse options to employ local stakeholders. Stakeholders with a strong sense of place attachment, openness to collaboration, and accurate risk perceptions can help communities face challenges. Cooperative extension can then aid in building collaborations while informing stakeholders about climate change threats. Yet, there is little work that addresses how resilient diverse rural communities are to climate change. For example, in rural coastal counties with high poverty rates there is a delicate balance between protecting wetlands and maintaining private property that supports the local tax base. Despite storm mitigation benefits, lost taxable land leads to diminished financial capital for storm mitigation infrastructure and flood recovery, which can produce less support for public lands locally. I am interested in researching ways to build resilience in diverse communities by improving outreach, identifying barriers to adaptation, and finding the balance between conservation and development.