Wednesday 7
Metrics for Adaptive Capacity and Resilience
Fabrice Declerck
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
› Antigone 1
How do ecologists measure resilience?
Rachel Standish  1@  , Nancy Shackelford  2@  , Etienne Laliberté  2@  , Raphael Didham  3@  , Richard Hobbs  2@  
1 : The University of Western Australia  (UWA)  -  Website
School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia Crawley, WA 6009 -  Australie
2 : The University of Western Australia  (UWA)
3 : The University of Western Australia and CSIRO  (UWA and CSIRO)

The concept of resilience has been widely adopted by ecologists, environmental managers and policy-makers. Maintaining or restoring ecosystems that are resilient to human-induced disturbances has become one of the primary goals of modern-day intervention and stewardship. Yet the confusion about how to define and measure resilience has largely prevented the application of the concept to the practice of ecosystem management. We recently reviewed the ecological literature to determine how resilience is being measured. We identified five seminal papers that have contributed to the conceptual and empirical development of resilience concepts. We searched for papers that cited these seminar papers and found 959 papers. Over half of the papers (n= 543 papers) included experimental (manipulative or observational) data, and of these, 189 papers (35 %) measured ecosystem response to a disturbance. Next, we scored matches between the definitions provided in each of the papers with their measures of resilience. A majority of papers defining resilience as either ecological resilience or engineering resilience did not include measurements that captured their reported definition. Conversely, a majority of papers defining resilience according to Westman (i.e., resilience is the degree, manner, and pace of restoration of initial structure and function in an ecosystem after disturbance) provide resilience measures that were consistent with his definition. Papers based on either the ecological or engineering definitions of resilience used similar measures, and this was true regardless of whether their definitions matched their measurements. Overall, there is more data describing ecosystem response to discrete ‘pulse' disturbances compared with data for longer term (‘press') disturbances. Large-scale, long-term datasets are more commonly available for plants than for other kingdoms. We discuss the implications of our findings for predicting and managing the different forms of resilience in ecosystems subject to human-mediated disturbances.


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