"Promoting Resilience"

E. Desjardins, G. Barker, C. Dieleman, A. Dussault, and Z. Lindo (Quarterly Review of Biology), June 2015

More Information and Full Text at QRB

Abstract: Broadening contingents of ecologists and environmental scientists have begun to promote ecological resilience both as a conceptual framework and as a practical goal in the past few decades. As some recent critics have noted, this growing interest has brought with it a multiplication of notions of ecological resilience. This paper reviews how and why the notion of ecological resilience has been increasingly used and defended in ecology since its introduction by C.S. Holling in 1973. We highlight the many faces of ecological resilience, but unlike other reviewers who see these as disunified and confused, we interpret ecological resilience as an evolving, multidimensional theoretical concept unified by its role in guiding practical response to ecological and environmental challenges. This perspective guides a review of some of the factors often recognized as favoring resilience (structural and response diversity, functional redundancy, modularity and spatial heterogeneity); we show how the roles and relationships of these factors can be clarified by considering them in the theoretical framework of Complex Adaptive Systems (CASs). This treatment reveals that standard conceptual models used in discussions of resilience suffer from important limitations; we close by exploring a promising avenue for enriching the models to overcome these limitations by using network theory as a tool to model CASs such as Social-Ecological Systems.