What is social-ecological resilience?

Tree surrounded by water - city in distance

Social-ecological resilience refers to the capacity of a social-ecological system to absorb shocks and maintain its structure and functions in the face of stressors and disturbances, while also adapting and transforming to changing conditions over time. It involves the ability of the system to recover from shocks and continue to provide critical ecosystem services, such as clean water, food, and climate regulation, while also supporting human well-being.

Social-ecological resilience is a complex concept that considers the interdependence of social and ecological systems, recognizing that human activities and ecological processes are interconnected and mutually dependent. It involves understanding the feedback loops and interactions between human societies and the ecosystems on which they depend, and how changes in one component can affect the resilience of the entire system.

Resilience can be built through a variety of strategies, including diversifying resources, enhancing ecosystem functions and services, increasing social cohesion and adaptive capacity, and fostering participatory decision-making and governance. The goal of building social-ecological resilience is to create systems that can sustainably provide for the needs of human societies while maintaining the integrity and resilience of the ecosystems on which they depend.