(e.g., the occurrence of large spills) and outcome risk (e.g., the loss of access to important subsistence resources or the closure of segments of commercial fisheries on which the whole community or significant subgroups depend).

Communities reduce their vulnerability by investing in strong social institutions with the capacity for learning and adaptation. Robust institutions have the ability to facilitate major transformation should this become necessary to lessen resource dependency and enhance community resilience (Adger 2000). Subgroups within a resource-dependent community with little political influence (entitlement) or few resources (endowment) may prove less adaptable than the community at large, possibly leading to social justice concerns. Ritchie and Gill (2006) illustrate the many ways in which unfortunate events such as oil spills can result in outcomes that lower community resilience. An important finding in social studies of communities that experience natural or technology-induced disasters is that under some circumstances, communitywide patterns of stress can develop that permanently alter a community’s sense of itself. Such impacts are difficult to quantify and easily overlooked.



MEA Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

NRC National Research Council

Adger, N. 2000. Social and Ecological Resilience: Are They Related? Progress in Human Geography, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 347–364.

Alaska Oil Spill Commission. 1990. Spill, the Wreck of the Exxon Valdez: Implications for Safe Transportation of Oil. Final report. Juneau.

Carson, R. T., R. C. Mitchell, M. Hanemann, R. J. Kopp, S. Presser, and P. A. Ruud. 2003. Contingent Valuation and Lost Passive Use: Damages from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 25, pp. 257–286.

Dutch Harbor Fisherman. 2007. Divers Find New Species in Aleutian Waters. www.thedutchharborfisherman.com. Vol. 15, No. 49, Nov. 8, p. 16.

MEA. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity Synthesis. www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Synthesis.aspx.

NRC. 2004. Valuing Ecosystem Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision-Making. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

Ritchie, L., and D. Gill. 2006. The Selendang Ayu Oil Spill: A Study of the Renewable Resource Community of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska. Quick Response Report 181. Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.

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