Resilience at the periphery: Insurgency, agency and social-ecological change under armed conflict

Ingalls, Micah L.; Mansfield, David (2017). Resilience at the periphery: Insurgency, agency and social-ecological change under armed conflict. Geoforum, 84, pp. 126-137. Elsevier 10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.06.012

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Armed conflict has played an increasingly important role in the transformation of key social and environmentalsystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Accelerated resourceflows and environmental change dynamicsintersect with conflict processes in ways that are substantial and yet inadequately understood. Drawing onresearch along the Pakistani border in eastern Afghanistan’s embattled province of Nangarhar, we employ acoupled systems approach for understanding the ways in which social-ecological processes shape and are shapedby armed conflict. Based onfield surveys, geospatial analysis of land and forest change, and participatory re-search among local communities, government agencies and military actors, we identify several causal processeslinking conflict and dynamics of social-ecological change in the context of multiscalar geopolitical processes. Wefocus attention on four inter-related elements: (1) transitional modes of resource governance relating to armedmilitia groups and state intervention, (2) forest changes related to illegal logging and trade networks, (3) theerosion of upper-montane rangelands through encroachment and changing pastoral responses to conflict, and (4)significant land use changes in the agricultural sector toward the cultivation of opium poppy. Our researchhighlights the importance of center-periphery relations, the problematic nature of local agency, and the ways inwhich local social-ecological elements—here, particularly, timber and opium—become political objects withincompeting narratives of (in)security and ongoing state formation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Ingalls, Micah








Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

30 Jun 2020 11:58

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2020 11:58

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Conflict, Social-ecological systems, Resilience, Afghanistan, Environmental change




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