A quantitative framework for assessing ecological resilience
Didier L. Baho, Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, Norway
Craig R. Allen, U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA
Ahjond Garmestani, Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Hannah Fried-Petersen, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Uppsala, Sweden
Sophia E. Renes, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Uppsala, Sweden
Lance Gunderson, Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
David G Angeler, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Uppsala, Sweden
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Quantitative approaches to measure and assess resilience are needed to bridge gaps between science, policy, and management. In this paper, we suggest a quantitative framework for assessing ecological resilience. Ecological resilience as an emergent ecosystem phenomenon can be decomposed into complementary attributes (scales, adaptive capacity, thresholds, and alternative regimes) that embrace the complexity inherent to ecosystems. Quantifying these attributes simultaneously provides opportunities to move from the assessment of specific resilience within an ecosystem toward a broader measurement of its general resilience. We provide a framework that is based on reiterative testing and recalibration of hypotheses that assess complementary attributes of ecological resilience. By implementing the framework in adaptive approaches to management, inference, and modeling, key uncertainties can be reduced incrementally over time and learning about the general resilience of dynamic ecosystems maximized. Such improvements are needed because uncertainty about global environmental change impacts and their effects on resilience is high. Improved resilience assessments will ultimately facilitate an optimized use of limited resources for management.
ecological resilience; inference; management; quantification; unifying framework
Copyright © 2017 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.