Resilience

Ecosystem resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to tolerate disturbance without collapsing into a qualitatively different state that is controlled by a different set of processes. A resilient ecosystem can withstand shocks and rebuild itself when necessary. Resilience in social systems has the added capacity of humans to anticipate and plan for the future. Humans are part of the natural world. We depend on ecological systems for our survival and we continuously impact the ecosystems in which we live from the local to global scale. Resilience is a property of these linked social-ecological systems (SES). "Resilience" as applied to ecosystems, or to integrated systems of people and the natural environment, has three defining characteristics:

  • The amount of change the system can undergo and still retain the same controls on function and structure
  • The degree to which the system is capable of self-organization
  • The ability to build and increase the capacity for learning and adaptation               

                                         Resilience Alliance, Accessed Jan. 31, 2014

What is resilience? Brian Walker from the Stockholm Resilience Centre explains.

More resources

Resilience Alliance

Resilience Research Centre

Regime Shifts Database

SARA(S)2South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies

Stockholm Resilience Centre

WISIR affiliations

Frances Westley is a member of the Resilience Alliance and a Board Member of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Ola Tjornbo is a Resilience Young Scholar.