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This book deals with the immediate effects of, and response to, Hurricane María on the social, ecological, and technological systems (SETS) of Puerto Rico. The SETS approach to analyzing hurricane effects places into historical context the role of social and technological factors, and compares social and ecological resilience on the same temporal scales. Written from the perspective of a Puerto Rican scientist who experienced Maria's wrath first-hand, the book uses extensive empirical knowledge of the ecological effects of hurricanes on Caribbean forests and combines that knowledge with a detailed analysis of the effects of Hurricane María on the social and technological fabric of Puerto Rico.
The comparison suggests that the effects of extreme events are dictated not only by the strength of the physical event, but also by the conditions of affected SETS at the time when the event exerts influence over them. Moreover, SETS have historical legacies that influence how resilient they can be when affected by an extreme event. Therefore, preparation and response to extreme events require an integrated social, ecological, and technological effort, known as the SETS response. The SETS response requires an understanding of the energetics of extreme events and their effects on the economy, which in turn determines social and technological resilience. Hurricane María demonstrated that the social and technological systems of Puerto Rico were not adapted to dealing with extreme events, in contrast with the ecological systems, which were. Hurricane María’s effect on Puerto Rico can be used as an example from which valuable lessons emerge for making SETS more adaptable and resilient to extreme events.
- Social-Ecological-Technological Effects of Hurricane María on Puerto Rico
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Ariel E. Lugo