Rice farmers and floods in Ecuador: the strategic role of social capital in disaster risk reduction and livelihood resilience

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Social capital plays an essential role in resilience building and disaster risk reduction, as it makes resources available in disaster situations. However, there is still a gap in the literature regarding the relationship between social capital, resilience, and disaster risk reduction. This research aims to understand and explain the role of social capital as a resource mobilizer during times of shock and the potential implications of this for DRR and resilience building. To do so, we develop and apply a framework that integrates the concepts of resilience (specifically the adaptive cycle theory), social capital (in terms of social relationships), and the disaster risk reduction cycle. We apply the framework to the case of rice smallholder farming in flood-prone areas in Ecuador. We find that households' resources are critical to sustaining other dimensions of resilience through different forms of social capital. The availability of resources (canoes, food, water, and others) that households can exchange or share within the community (bonding social capital) sets the conditions for other levels of social capital. Bridging social capital is relevant for accessing temporary refuge for animals, water, food, and loans when resources at the local level become scarcer. The lack of resources creates conditions that strengthen unhealthy social relationships at the bridging social capital level. The use of this framework helped us to systematize our data and provide an overview of how the coping strategies of rice smallholders contribute to and inhibit their resilience during a flood and their transition to recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104332
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • Adaptive cycle
  • Disaster risk management
  • Flood
  • Resilience
  • Smallholders' coping strategies
  • Social capital


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