Resilience

The concept of resilience was originally introduced by Holling (1973) as a concept for understanding the ability of an ecosystem with alternative attractors to persist within a state when subjected to disturbances.

The concept of resilience was originally introduced by Holling (1973) as a concept for understanding the ability of an ecosystem with alternative attractors to persist within a state when subjected to disturbances. This definition was subsequently adopted by Holling (1996), Gunderson (2000), Folke (2006) and Scheffer (2009).

In simple terms, the resilience of a system refers to its tendency to return to a particular state following a perturbation or disturbance, while staying within a limited range of structure and function. This range can refer to social (education, development), economic (capital flows, per capita income), or environmental (biodiversity, food production) variables.

The resilience of complex systems can be understood as an approach to organize and manage social-ecological systems (SES) with emphasis on the capacity for renewal, reorganization and development, where disturbances (e.g. extreme weather events) are part of the system’s dynamics and represent opportunities for change or innovation (Gunderson and Holling, 2002; Walker et al., 2004; Folke, 2006; Walker and Salt, 2006).

References

  • Folke, C. 2006. Resilience: the emergence of a perspective for social–ecological systems analysis. Global Environmental Change 16(3):253-267.
  • Gunderson, l. 2000. Ecological Resilience in Theory and Application. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 425-439.
  • Gunderson, L.H., C.S. Holling. Editors. 2002. Panarchy. Island Press, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Holling, C.S. 1973. Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 4:1–23.
  • Holling, C.S. 1996. Engineering resilience versus ecological resilience. Paginas 31- 44 en P.Schulze, editor. Engineering within ecological constraints.
  • National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Scheffer, M. 2009. Critical transitions in nature and society. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
  • Walker, B.H. y D. Salt. 2006. Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World. Island Press, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Walker, B.H., C.S. Holling, S.R. Carpenter, y A. Kinzig. 2004. Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9(2):5. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss2/art5.

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About Saras

The South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS) is an emerging transdisciplinary institute designed to generate critical insights allowing South America to build sustainable futures. It seeks integration across a broad range of knowledge using innovative approaches and integrating social and natural sciences, mathematics and arts.

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