Socioecological Resilience at Céu do Patriarca Ecovilage – South Brazil

Landscape around Céu do Patriarca Ecovilage, South Brazil. Photo: Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

Socioecological Resilience at Céu do Patriarca Ecovilage – South Brazil

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger, Gustavo C.M. Martins, Alexandre Paulo Teixeira Moreira, Cristian Curti and Cristiana Simão Seixas 

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Abstract: This manuscript analyses the social-ecological resilience of Céu do Patriarca ecovillage (Florianópolis city, Santa Catarina state, Brazil). Initially, we describe the motivation and main events guiding the intentional self-organization process of the community in the past 23 years. We then provide a descriptive analysis of the main attributes – technological, knowledge and skills, social structures and relations, behavioural, psychological and belief systems, adaptive policies and management – related to its capacity to manage social and ecological disturbance in the present, past and future. We have also analysed the response measures demonstrated by the ecovillage to 8 of the main local socio-ecological disturbances. The analysis enabled the identification of 33 characteristics within the ecovillage that are indicative of its resilience. We also illustrate the presence of adaptive co-management features, and argue they have shown a high level of transformability across their 23-year trajectory. Before all the advancements and experiences accumulated by the Céu do Patriarca ecovillage, we conclude that it does not only offer an outstanding and insightful case study to think about the various facets of social-ecological systems resilience. Above all, it may well serve as a reference to other communities and people in search of concrete social-ecological systems trajectories that have shown significant progress in pursuing sustainable development.

About the authors: Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger is a Phd student in Environment and Society at the Centre for Environmental Studies (Nepam), University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Brazil. Gustavo Martins has a Bsc. in Environmental Engineering and is an associate of the Ecovillage for the past 6 years, where he is working with several aspects of permaculture.

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Social-ecological resilience at Céu do Patriarca ecovillage, Brazil

Landscape around Céu do Patriarca. Photo: Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

Background: This case study describes research undertaken at Céu do Patriarca, an ecovillage in Santa Catarina, south Brazil. It describes the motivation and main events guiding the intentional self-organization of the community over the past 23 years.It then provides a descriptive analysis of the main attributes – technological, knowledge and skills, social structures and relations, behavioural, psychological and belief systems, adaptive policies and management – related to its capacity to manage social and ecological disturbance in the present, past and future. The study analyses the response measures demonstrated by the ecovillage to 8 of the main local socio-ecological disturbances.33 resilience-enhancing traits are identified and described. The findings also illustrate the presence of adaptive co-management features, and the authors argue that they have shown a high level of transformability across their 23-year trajectory.

Overall, the study shows how Céu do Patriarca ecovillage offers an outstanding and insightful case study on the various facets of social-ecological resilience and may well serve as a reference to other communities and people in search of concrete social-ecological systems trajectories that have shown significant progress in pursuing sustainable development.

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger

About the authors: 

Leopoldo Cavaleri Gerhardinger is a Phd student in Environment and Society at the Centre for Environmental Studies (Nepam), University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Brazil. He hold a Bsc in Oceanography (Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brazil,  2004) and a Msc in Conservation (University College London, 2008). He is also also affiliated to the marine conservation NGO, ECOMAR, with whom he engages with various facets of coastal and marine governance in Brazil either through research or environmental activism in designing and delivering marine conservation projects at various levels (Goliath Grouper Marine Conservation Network – www.merosdobrasil.org). His general research interests ranges from marine fish ecology and ethnoecology to the theory and practice of governance. His PhD tackles multi-level coastal-marine governance with a focus on the communicative processes in marine protected areas.

Gustavo C. M. Martins

Gustavo Martins has a Bsc. in Environmental Engineering and is an associate of the Ecovillage for the past 6 years, where he is working with several aspects of permaculture. He also works in the offshore oil and gas sector, inspecting submarine structures to ensure operational quality and environmental safety.

Further publications: 

  • Gerhardinger, L.C.; Godoy, E.A.S.; Jones, P.J.S.; Sales, G.; Ferreira, B.P. 2011. Marine Protected Dramas: The Flaws of the Brazilian National System of Marine Protected Areas. Environmental Management, 47:630–643.
  • Gerhardinger, L.C.; Godoy, E.A.S.; Jones, P.J.S. 2009. Local ecological knowledge and the management of marine protected areas in Brazil. Ocean & Coastal Management, v. 52, p. 154-16