ABOUT THE PROJECT
This project funded by an U.S. National Science Foundation RAPID grant is led by Dr. Jeremy Spoon in Nepal where there was a devastating series of earthquakes in the spring of 2015. Earthquake recovery and reconstruction comprise a multi-staged process that occurs over weeks, months, and years. Spoon and his research team are in the process of conducting ethnographic and survey research using a retrospective survey of pre-earthquake states, at two short time intervals (about 10 weeks each) to track the impacts and recovery trajectory. The project enrolled 400 households in four communities. An additional 40 key consultants have been contacted for in-depth interviews. The data collection is focusing on three to five key indicator variables that express adaptive capacity and follow them over time to uncover social-ecological transformation in the selected communities. The indicators include: biophysical attributes (characteristics integral to the ecological system structure and processes prior to the disturbance); institutional context (governance of the social-ecological system); connectivity (flows of information, knowledge, resources and linkages between the system and external actors); livelihood diversity (diverse patterns of resource use and heterogeneity of income); and social memory (prior experiences with disturbances). The timing of this project allows the researchers to collect information on pre-earthquake states, the emergency response, the restoration of basic essentials, and the start of livelihood reconstruction. It will provide a window into transformation processes at the earliest stages, setting a foundation for a longer-term project that follows social and ecological reconstruction in the targeted areas over multiple years.