Robustness and resilience are concepts in systems thinking that have grown in importance and popularity. For many complex social-ecological systems, however, robustness and resilience are difficult to quantify and the connections and trade-offs between them difficult to study. Most studies have either focused on qualitative approaches to discuss their connections or considered only one of them under particular classes of disturbances. In this study, we present an analytical framework to address the linkage between robustness and resilience more systematically. Our analysis is based on a stylized dynamical model that operationalizes a widely used conceptual framework for social-ecological systems. The model enables us to rigorously delineate the boundaries of conditions under which the coupled system can be sustained in a long run, define robustness and resilience related to these boundaries, and consequently investigate their connections. The results reveal the trade-offs between robustness and resilience. They also show how the nature of such trade-offs varies with the choice of certain policies (e.g., taxation and investment in public infrastructure), internal stresses, and uncertainty in social-ecological settings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)