Resilience is the capacity of a system to respond to a disturbance by resisting damage and rebuilding itself without collapsing into a qualitatively different state that is controlled by a different set of processes. For ecosystems such disturbances can include natural events such as fires or flooding, but also human activities such as deforestation, pollution or the exploitation of natural resources. A severe disturbance may force an ecosystem to reach a tipping point, causing a regime shift and often less desirable and deteriorated conditions.

This working group focuses on the concept ‘Resilience’. Important questions that will be explored are: How does the idea differ from established understandings? How applicable is the concept for understanding society and coupled socio-ecological systems? How significant has this concept been for the development of new governance approaches to managing social/ecological interactions? Has this idea been linked to actual changes in policy or the processes or structures of environmental governance?

For more information please contact Lennart Olsson:

Professor Lennart Olsson
LUCSUS – Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies
Lund University

Interesting articles

Cosens, B. A. (2013). Legitimacy, adaptation, and resilience in ecosystem management. Ecology and Society.

Duit, A., Galaz, V., Eckerberg, K. & Ebbesson, J. (2010). Governance, complexity, and resilience. Global Environmental Change.

Folke, C., Carpenter, S. R., Elmqvist, T., Gunderson, L., Holling, C. S. & Walker, B. (2002). Resilience and sustainable development: building adaptive capacity in a World of transformations. Ambio.

Folke, C. (2006) Resilience: the emergence of a perspective for social–ecological systems analyses. Global Environmental Change.

Brand, Fridolin S. & Jax, K. (2007). Focusing the meaning(s) of resilience: resilience as a descriptive concept and a boundary object. Ecology and Society

Lebel, L., Anderies, J. M., Campbell, B., Folke, C., Hatfield-Dodds, S., Hughes, T.P. & Wilson, J. (2006). Governance and the capacity to manage resilience in regional social-ecological systems. Marine Sciences Faculty Scholarship.

Smith, A. & Stirling, A. (2008). Social-ecological resilience and sociotechnical transitions: critical issues for sustainability governance. STEPS Centre.

Thorén, H. (2014). Resilience as a unifying concept. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science.

Walker, J. & Cooper, M. (2011). Genealogies of resilience from systems ecology to the political economy of crisis adaptation. Security dialogue.

Walker, B., Holling, C.S., Carpenter, S. R. & Kinzig, A. (2004). Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and Society.

Further links

Ten definitions of resilience
Stockholm Resilience Centre