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Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 935; doi:10.3390/su8090935

Advancing Empirical Approaches to the Concept of Resilience: A Critical Examination of Panarchy, Ecological Information, and Statistical Evidence

1
Advanced Systems Analysis Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg A-2361, Austria
2
Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University, Towson, MD 21252, USA
4
FAS Research, Vienna 1090, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helmut Haberl
Received: 11 April 2016 / Revised: 19 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Abstract

Despite its ambiguities, the concept of resilience is of critical importance to researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers in dealing with dynamic socio-ecological systems. In this paper, we critically examine the three empirical approaches of (i) panarchy; (ii) ecological information-based network analysis; and (iii) statistical evidence of resilience to three criteria determined for achieving a comprehensive understanding and application of this concept. These criteria are the ability: (1) to reflect a system’s adaptability to shocks; (2) to integrate social and environmental dimensions; and (3) to evaluate system-level trade-offs. Our findings show that none of the three currently applied approaches are strong in handling all three criteria. Panarchy is strong in the first two criteria but has difficulty with normative trade-offs. The ecological information-based approach is strongest in evaluating trade-offs but relies on common dimensions that lead to over-simplifications in integrating the social and environmental dimensions. Statistical evidence provides suggestions that are simplest and easiest to act upon but are generally weak in all three criteria. This analysis confirms the value of these approaches in specific instances but also the need for further research in advancing empirical approaches to the concept of resilience. View Full-Text
Keywords: resilience; panarchy; network analysis; information theory; diversity; redundancy; modularity resilience; panarchy; network analysis; information theory; diversity; redundancy; modularity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kharrazi, A.; Fath, B.D.; Katzmair, H. Advancing Empirical Approaches to the Concept of Resilience: A Critical Examination of Panarchy, Ecological Information, and Statistical Evidence. Sustainability 2016, 8, 935.

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