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Estimating Resilience Across Landscapes

Garry D Peterson, McGill University


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Although ecological managers typically focus on managing local or regional landscapes, they often have little ability to control or predict many of the large-scale, long-term processes that drive changes within these landscapes. This lack of control has led some ecologists to argue that ecological management should aim to produce ecosystems that are resilient to change and surprise. Unfortunately, ecological resilience is difficult to measure or estimate in the landscapes people manage. In this paper, I extend system dynamics approaches to resilience and estimate resilience using complex landscape simulation models. I use this approach to evaluate cross-scale edge, a novel empirical method for estimating resilience based on landscape pattern. Cross-scale edge provides relatively robust estimates of resilience, suggesting that, with some further development, it could be used as a management tool to provide rough and rapid estimates of areas of resilience and vulnerability within a landscape.

Key words

alternative stable states, cross-scale edge, Eglin Air Force Base, longleaf pine, oak, probabilistic resilience, spatial resilience

Copyright © 2002 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087