Integrating Collapse Theories to Understand Socio-Ecological Systems Resilience


This longitudinal case study applies collapse theory to the Piura Basin of Peru, a region subject to extreme El Niño weather events, that has previously seen societal collapse in the ancient Moche civilization. By examining factors from the Robustness Framework such as centralized governance, system interconnectedness, and central elites, the researchers examined the interactions of these factors with extreme weather events to predict the likelihood that the current society built there will collapse. “Contrary to proposing deterministic causes of collapse (e.g. environmental, war, epidemics), we exemplify how the inclusion of a combination of diverse factors (biophysical, institutional and socio-economical) into the analysis provides a more comprehensive explanation of phenomena.”


Cathy Rubiños and John M. Anderies

Publication Date

6 July 2020


Environmental Research Letters (vol. 15, no. 7)



Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed

Ecosystems • Social Order and Governance

Resource Theme

Societal Collapse • Sustainability and Transition
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