The shape of ecosystem management to come: Anticipating risks and fostering resilience

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Abstract

Global change is increasingly challenging the sustainable provisioning of ecosystem services to society. Addressing future uncertainty and risk has therefore become a central problem of ecosystem management. With risk management and resilience-based stewardship, two contrasting approaches have been proposed to address this issue. Whereas one is concentrated on anticipating and mitigating risks, the other is focused on fostering the ability to absorb perturbations and maintain desired properties. While they have hitherto been discussed largely separately in the literature, I here propose a unifying framework of anticipating risks and fostering resilience in ecosystem management. Anticipatory action is advocated when the predictability of risk is high and sufficient knowledge to address it is available. Conversely, in situations in which predictability and knowledge are limited, resilience-based measures are paramount. I conclude that, by adopting a purposeful combination of insights from risk and resilience research, we can make ecosystem services provisioning more robust to future uncertainty and change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1169
Number of pages11
JournalBioScience
Volume64
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ecosystem stewardship
  • Global change
  • Resilience
  • Risk
  • Sustainable management

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