Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability in Social–ecological Systems

Short Description

System resilience is used in varying context that is always evolving and can be an imprecise concept. For the purpose of resource management, resilience is the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks. We analyze three related attributes of a social-ecological system to forecast its trajectory: resilience, adaptability, and transformability. Each of these three attributes have specific components to analyze, and the implication is that the dynamics for sustainability science needs to change focus from seeking optimal states and maximum sustainable yield, to resilience analysis, adaptive management, and adaptive governance. This shift in approach will provide a better scientific basis for sustainable development and sustainable science.

Format and Retrieval

This article can be viewed in html and downloaded as PDF through Ecology and Society.

Related Partners

The Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to manage and monitor the conservation of wildlife habitats throughout the United States. This includes the direct management of the National Wildlife Refuge System for the wellfare of all American people, and using social science in the decision making process and utilization of management plans.

Suggested Citation

Walker, B., C. S. Holling, S. R. Carpenter, and A. Kinzig. 2004. Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9(2): 5