Revolt and remember: How the Shimshal nature trust develops and sustains social-ecological resilience in northern Pakistan

Mejabeen Abidi-Habib, Anna Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Citations (Scopus)


The Shimshal Nature Trust is an indigenous institution rooted in a thriving and dynamic culture that links the local ecology and society. It has deployed identity, traditional knowledge, science, and institutional innovation to adapt to outside challenges without destroying local commons management. This paper reviews scholarly debate on natural resource management and uses resilience theory to examine this complex adaptive system. Two disturbances to Shimshal resilience prompted by a national park and a new road are traced. Shimshali responses include social processes of learning, knowledge systems, and renewal. Ways in which adaptive renewal cycles involve Revolt, a short, fast reaction, and Remember, a larger, slower cascade, are put in perspective. Simple and powerful qaulities that guide change are highlighted. We conclude that the Shimshal Nature Trust creates a resilient interface between the outside and inside worlds. Government, donors, and academics can participate in contextualized action-learning cycles that result in more informed and negotiated contributions to local institutions for commons management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007



  • Community participation
  • Complex adaptive systems
  • Ecological resilience
  • Indigenous institution
  • Local commons management
  • National park
  • New road
  • Pakistan
  • Renewal
  • Social learning

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