Resistance, Resilience and Restoration

Lake, Philip S
Ecological Management and Restoration
Publication Year: 
Disturbances (pulse, press and ramp) constitute a major force influencing, even determining, the structure and functions of ecological components – populations, communities and ecosystems. The capacity to weather a disturbance without loss is defined as resistance, whereas resilience is the capacity to recover from a disturbance after incurring losses, which may be considerable. This article seeks to resolve differences in the ecological definition of resistance and of resilience and to examine the importance of resilience as applied to ecological restoration. In restoration, interventions are designed and implemented with the aim of strengthening the resilience, that is, the capacity to recover, of degraded systems. In response to restorative measures, degraded systems may have both resistance and negative resilience to remain in the degraded state. The key aim of restoration is to overcome the resistance and negative resilience of the degraded state by strengthening positive resilience, the capacity to recover to the intact undegraded state. Restoration may be hindered by a lack of knowledge of acting disturbances (both past and present), of the previous intact condition and of appropriate interventions to implement. Resilience to a disturbance is determined after the disturbance has ceased. Thus, for current ongoing press and ramp disturbances, resilience can be hard to determine.
Name of Journal: 
Ecological Management and Restoration
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.