Jory Lerback

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Development of a resilience framework to understand a coupled human-natural system in Baja California, Mexico

-Jory Lerback, Brenda Bowen, Shane Macfarlan

I just finished my PhD in the department of Geology and Geophysics! Generally, I am interested in framing hydrologic and geochemical studies with an environmental justice lens.

Hydrological systems are important to society as water resources and effective management requires an understanding of how water and humans influence each other. We describe a dynamic, coupled human-water system present in the arid, mountainous region of Baja California Sur, Mexico. In this remote mountain range, there is a community (self-identifying as Choyeros) who rely on springwater for ranching and subsistence. Using mixed methods of hydrogeochemistry and anthropology, we describe spatial connectivity and temporal changes of both hydrologic and social systems.  Using these observations, we construct a graphical framework for evaluating human-water system resilience, which we define as the ability to respond to system perturbations. We then plot the Choyero response to system changes and examine the implications of overlap in the coupled-system’s capacity to respond to perturbations. This framework can be used to compare systems across spatio-temporal scales to produce more generalizable and communicable insights of socio-hydrologic systems.