Table 1. Glossary of resilience terms.

Term Definition
Active transformation The deliberate initiation of a phased introduction of one or more new state variables (a new way of making a living) at lower scales, while maintaining the resilience of the system at higher scales as transformational change proceeds.
Adaptability (adaptive capacity) The capacity of actors in a system to influence resilience.
Adaptive cycle A heuristic model that portrays an endogenously driven four-phase cycle of social-ecological systems and other complex adaptive systems. The common trajectory is from a phase of rapid growth where resources are freely available and there is high resilience (r phase), through capital accumulation into a gradually rigidifying phase where most resources are locked up and there is little flexibility or novelty, and low resilience (K phase), thence via a sudden collapse into a release phase of chaotic dynamics in which relationships and structures are undone (Ω), into a phase of re-organization where novelty can prevail (α). The r-K dynamics reflect a more-or-less predictable, relatively slow “foreloop” and the Ω - α dynamics represent a chaotic, fast “backloop” that strongly influences the nature of the next foreloop. External or higher-scale influences can cause a move from any phase to any other phase.
Forced transformation An imposed transformation of a social–ecological system that is not introduced deliberately by the actors.
General resilience The resilience of any and all parts of a system to all kinds of shocks, including novel ones.
Panarchy The interactive dynamics of a nested set of adaptive cycles.
Regime The set of system states within a stability landscape
Regime shift A change in a system state from one regime or stability domain to another
Resilience The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure and feedbacks, and therefore identity, that is, the capacity to change in order to maintain the same identity.
Social–ecological system Integrated system of ecosystems and human society with reciprocal feedback and interdependence. The concept emphasizes the humans-in-nature perspective
Specified resilience The resilience “of what, to what”; resilience of some particular part of a system, related to a particular control variable, to one or more identified kinds of shocks.
Stability domain A basin of attraction of a system, in which the dimensions are defined by the set of controlling variables that have threshold levels (equivalent to a system regime)
Stability landscape The extent of the possible states of system space, defined by the set of control variables in which stability domains are embedded
Threshold (aka critical transition) A level or amount of a controlling, often slowly changing variable in which a change occurs in a critical feedback causing the system to self-organize along a different trajectory, that is, towards a different attractor.
Transformability The capacity to transform the stability landscape itself in order to become a different kind of system, to create a fundamentally new system when ecological, economic, or social structures make the existing system untenable.