Why manage for resilience?
Resilient social-ecological systems can sustain desired functions and characteristics despite uncertainties and surprises. As a result, resilience is a key concept because it can be used to identify strategies to create adaptive, flexible systems across urban design, ecosystem management and conservation planning.
Resilience in social-ecological systems includes ecological resilience - the ability of a landscape to sustain desired ecological functions, robust native biodiversity, and critical landscape processes over time, under changing conditions, and despite multiple stressors and uncertainties - as well as social resilience - the ability of individuals or communities to survive, adapt and grow after experiencing external stresses and disturbances as a result of social, political, and environmental change.
Details about the mechanisms that contribute to the resilience of ecosystems can be found in the Landscape Resilience Framework report. These principles provide a holistic framework to consider potential actions likely to confer ecological resilience.
Questions to guide thinking about resilience include:
Setting: What are the biological, geophysical and cultural characteristics that define the opportunities and constraints of the site?
Process: What chemical, biological and physical drivers, events and processes created and sustained the landscape over time?
Connectivity (and Modularity): What linkages exist between processes, populations and habitats across the landscape, and how can these linkages be improved? Conversely, how might individual units retain self-sufficiency and functionality?
Diversity and Complexity: How varied are the landscape features (i.e. habitat types, topographic gradients, etc.) and spatial configuration of biological and physical characteristics of the landscape at nested scales?
Redundancy: Are similar overlapping structural, population and functional characteristics within the landscape present to provide “back up”?
Scale: What spatial extent or time frame is needed to facilitate the necessary landscape functions of species and processes?
People: How can ecological engagement, landscape integration, adaptive management, and stressor management be improved and what is the potential for co-benefits?
For a detailed analysis, visit the suggested links below:
Focused on ecological resilience: Landscape Resilience Framework: Operationalizing ecological resilience at the landscape scale
Focused on social resilience: Applying resilience thinking Seven principles for building resilience in social-ecological systems