Operationalizing resilience using state and transition models

TitleOperationalizing resilience using state and transition models
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBestelmeyer BT
Conference Name68th World Congress on Ecological Restoration
Date Published08/2015
Conference LocationManchester, UK
ARIS Log Number319946

In management, restoration, and policy contexts, the notion of resilience can be confusing. Systematic development of conceptual models of ecological state change (state transition models; STMs) can help overcome semantic confusion and promote a mechanistic understanding of resilience. Drawing on examples from rangelands, I describe basic state change concepts (equilibrium, nonequilibrium, and regime shifts) and how they are matched (or mismatched) to specific ecosystems via historical, comparative, experimental, and monitoring evidence. A key issue is to distinguish regime shifts from other forms of state change. STMs should distinguish strategies used to prevent regime shifts vs. the restoration and management of historical/hybrid/novel ecosystems following a regime shift. Important challenges in the development of STMs include 1) defining reference conditions, 2) considering climate change, and 3) information delivery to users.  Paper No. SY48.2.