Resilience and Management of Biotic Resources

In managing key ecosystem functional attributes, there is a growing recognition of the importance of ecological resilience. Ecological resilience is recognized as the property that allows for managers and stakeholders to adapt to the sometimes unpredictable dynamics of ecosystems. Resilience loss might not necessarily be a slow degradation process, but can be an abrupt shift caused by stochastic events. Until such events occur, the system may not be vulnerable, particularly in regard to the flows of ecosystem goods and services. From a management viewpoint, it needs to be stated what system characteristics are desired, that is, what ecosystem goods and services are preferred and valued by society. In order to manage properly, it is important to understand the drivers that function in the system and affect its resilience, that is, the kind of disturbances that act on the system and what management options are important. As Carpenter phrased it, ''One must specify the resilience of what to what." In this manner, a clear understanding of the undesirable status of the system under perturbation must be properly addressed and the possibilities to flip the system back to a previous state must also be quantified in terms of cost and feasibility. Management of resilience then is a more complicated task since it involves interaction of the social and ecological system. Resilience thus is used as a framework to explore paths for sustainable development, as a main system characteristic, and as an operational indicator of ecosystem status. The correct choice of operational indicators has been identified as a key research priority to make resilience more applicable from a management perspective.

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