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Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World
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Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Increasingly, cracks are appearing in the capacity of communities, ecosystems, and landscapes to provide the goods and services that sustain our planet's well-being. The response from most quarters has been for more of the same that created the situation in the first place: more control, more intensification, and greater efficiency. Resilience thinking offers a different w ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by Island Press
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Sarah Clement
Really good basic overview, though I personally think this is more useful for the practitioner than the academic. It was an easy and enjoyable read, but from the perspective of someone looking to apply resilience thinking in a rigorous research programme, I think the book is of limited use. The resilience literature is still really light in the area of social systems, which is evident particularly in the approach presented for scenario planning. I understand that there are different schools of t ...more
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was really eye-opening for me. The language and explanations were a bit challenging for me to completely absorb from the first read. I learned alot about the true meaning behind resilience because i see this word being written around randomly nowadays paying little or no attention to really explain the many concepts and forms resilience thinking can take. I highly recommend this book!
Michael Burnam-Fink
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sts, academic, 2017, science
Resilience Thinking is a slim book about sustainability and systems in ecology. Structured around five case studies, this volume is both a manifesto and a strong work of popular scholarship. Brian Walker clearly elucidates the failures of command-and-control ecosystem management based on optimizing one part of a system for efficiency. As the case studies in ecosystem management show, human prosperity is based around ecosystem services. Over decades and centuries, human intervention in these syst ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: planners, ecologists, designers
Recommended to Steve by: Permaculture Activist magazine
This slim volume serves as a good introduction to several concepts of systems theory.

It covers the importance of:
*looking at problems from a unified socio-ecological framework where people and environment are considered together,
*being aware of key thresholds that if crossed put the system in a new regime or stable state that may be quite different than before,
*considering where in the adaptive cycle of growth, conservation, release, and reorganization the system may be and what the implication
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent introduction to the subject, particularly for the non-academics or for anyone looking for an easy and enjoyable to read primer to the key concepts of resilience thinking. However, I would have liked to see more discussion on limitations, problems and future developments of the resilience framework.
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Good for anyone interested in social ecology and systems thinking
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent concise introduction to resilience thinking.
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Not an easy read for non-ecologists, but the best introduction on socio-ecological systems resilience that I can find.
John Kossen
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good book to learn more about complex systems in relation to environmental problems.
I am combining it with ecological, degrowth, steady-state economics and modern money theory to gain more understanding about how we can think differently about economics in relation with human well-being and protection of the environment.
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Overview of a new abstract way of understanding the social-ecologocial world around you, and how to minimize the costs to humans and the environment around them. Slightly redundant (might be the point) and long repetitive descriptions of the ideas proposed.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very well written and accessible. Interesting and relevant to my project.
Susanna Davy
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very readable take on resilience on socio-ecological systems. Good brain food.
Renee Fourman
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a paradigm shift in management principles
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Had to read for class, not very useful for me personally but an okay intro to resilience thinking.
Ronald Perrella
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. I found it quite helpful in understanding complex adaptive systems. Better than the computer science/mathematics texts in its clarity.
John Kaye
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent introductionj to resilience concepts in the environment. A well thought out structure and the case studies make a very strong case.
Tori Roberts
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really interesting! Easy to read!
Jeffrey Lehrer
Apr 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book uses international diverse case studies very well to illustrate social ecology resilience thinking and how this might differ to other interpretations of resilience thinking.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was a wonderful introduction to systems thinking. Also, this book is not a difficult read. Terms are explained, and plenty of examples are given. So, even if you do not understand everything that follows, you CAN learn from this book.

Resilience thinking is characterized by a few key terms: diversity, thresholds, adaptive cycles, ecological variability, and modularity.

"Resilient social-ecological systems have the capacity to change as the world changes while still maintaining
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful concise book containing a really neat tool that I can permanently add to my tool belt as an Environmental Scientist. As an analytical perspective, the concept of resilience is great for describing and analyzing components that are socioecological, i.e., have a human and ecosystem component. The phases described occur in both spheres and are a stimulating way to frame many socioecological problems of the modern day.

I would say the book dwindles down to two overarching concepts: that of
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book has aged remarkably well. It's just short of a decade after this book's publication and the field of resilience thinking has developed and gained wider acceptance (though still far from the governing paradigm in resource management and restoration). Nonetheless, Resilience Thinking still provides a thorough background in the subject and its background in complex systems theory. I contrast this book with Gunderson and Holling's Panarchy, which is more than 3 times as long. Despite it be ...more
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this book in an effort to consider how resilience thinking might be applicable to congregational development. The book, of course, is written with ecological/environmental concerns in mind. In other words, much translation is required. However, what is clear is that optimization approaches --- being more efficient at what we've always done or pouring more resources into a single program --- while aiding a congregation in the short run may prove to have an adverse impact on longer-term sus ...more
Jay Kovach
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book introduced some new concepts and expanded on some that I was unfamiliar with. The writing style wasn't as inviting as it could be, but this is a familiar issue when dealing with intellectuals and specialists. There is a great video that expands on this:

Anyway, I enjoyed the book and can see myself using it as a reference at a later date. I really liked that the writers ask for reader input at the end of the book and there is a "further reading" s
Eleanor With Cats
A good introduction to things I haven't read about before.

The authors write: "Resilience Thinking arose out of appeals from colleagues in science and industry for a plainly written account of what resilience is all about, and how a resilience approach to managing resources differs from current practices. 'Don't give me complicated theory, just give me five good case studies, then I'll know what you mean' was the explicit request from one industry colleague. So that's what we set out to do." (xi
Dick Cheuk
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book focuses on resilience in macro level of systems (mainly social-ecosystems). A clear difference between social-ecological resilience and personal resilience has been discussed. Important concepts such as thresholds and Complex Adaptive System are clearly presented (I do hope the author can talk a bit more on Complex Adaptive System). Good cases studies to illustrate his arguments. A good book for anyone who is interested in Resilience thinking.
Oct 20, 2009 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book with good examples, but I found it difficult to read because it is simplistic and redundant. In general it was poorly written; there were many paragraphs that could have disappeared without affecting the book's message.

Overall I would say good message, bad messenger.

Also: I now hate the word "resilience."
Mar 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Systems Thinking and how that ties in with ecosystems- I enjoyed the use of case studies to explain the concepts. I could create an entire course around the content of this book.
Jan 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: environment
Nice, but broad scope with a few case studies to enhance the material. Good, quick read but not a must-read environmental book in my opinion.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you're into this, I recommend it. ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting concepts - some to be argued intensely in communities - this is a contribution to the conversations we need to have to create a sustainable world.
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