Human Ecology

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 341–353 | Cite as

Community Resilience in Southern Appalachia: A Theoretical Framework and Three Case Studies

  • Jordan W. SmithEmail author
  • Roger L. Moore
  • Dorothy H. Anderson
  • Christos Siderelis


A fundamental assumption in nearly all research on social adaptation to environmental change is that there is a concomitant and inverse relationship between human communities’ dependence upon particular natural resources affected by environmental change and those communities or societies’ resilience to disturbances. However, recent theoretical and empirical developments suggest resilience is a dynamic social process determined, in part, by the ability of communities to act collectively and solve common problems. The interactional approach to community is utilized to develop a framework whereby various patterns of social interaction define the process of social resilience. Data come from multiple mixed methods case studies of forest dependent communities within Southern Appalachia. The findings reveal varied processes of social resilience can occur in communities with similar levels of resource dependence; a community’s composition of internal social ties and their cross-scale linkages to external agencies and organizations define these processes.


Resource dependence Social capital Adaptation 



This research was supported by a doctoral dissertation improvement grant from the National Science Foundation (Award No. 1030395) and a Hoffmann Fellowship from the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University. The authors would like to thank Dr. Ed Kick, Dr. Hugh Devine, and Hollie Smith for their comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordan W. Smith
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roger L. Moore
    • 2
  • Dorothy H. Anderson
    • 2
  • Christos Siderelis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism ManagementNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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