, Volume 8, Issue 8, pp 941–944 | Cite as

Surrogates for Resilience of Social–Ecological Systems

  • Stephen R. Carpenter
  • Frances Westley
  • Monica G. Turner
Special Feature


From its roots in ecology, resilience (Holling 1973) has more recently been applied to social–ecological systems, or SES. Theories of changing resilience explicitly address the persistence or breakdown of diverse states of complex systems (Gunderson and Holling 2002). These ideas have attracted interest from interdisciplinary research groups interested in change, conservation or restoration of SES (Berkes and others 2003; Scheffer and others 2003). From a practical standpoint, resilience theory provides a conceptual foundation for sustainable development (Folke and others 2002). The transition from theory to practice, however, requires assessment or estimation of resilience (Carpenter and others 2001). So far, there is little experience with estimating resilience of SES, and little understanding of the sensitivity of resilience measures to changes in SES. This shortage of practical field experience is a barrier to building understanding through empirical study of...


Theoretical Notion Practical Field Indirect Inference Resilience Theory Integrate System Model 
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This Special Feature developed at Resilience Alliance meetings in Madison, Wisconsin, USA and Marenco, Costa Rica in 2002, with sponsorship of the J. S. MacDonnell Foundation. We thank the participants in those meetings, especially the authors of the Special Feature papers and Marty Anderies, Doug Beard, Buz Brock, Thomas Elmquist, Marco Janssen, Don Ludwig, Jon Norberg, Yarden Oren, Allyson Quinlan, Brian Walker and Colleen Webb.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen R. Carpenter
    • 1
  • Frances Westley
    • 2
  • Monica G. Turner
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for LimnologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental StudiesUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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