Resilience in the times of COVID: what the response to the COVID pandemic teaches us about resilience principles

Marta Berbés-Blázquez, Michael Schoon, Karina Benessaiah, Elena M. Bennett, Garry D. Peterson, Rajiv Ghimire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Times of crisis offer a rare opportunity to understand the mechanisms underpinning the resilience of complex adaptive systems. The coronavirus pandemic that started in 2020 overwhelmed health systems worldwide and forced governments, businesses, and individuals to deploy a range of coping and adaptation strategies. Through an online survey targeting members of the Resilience Alliance and their collaborators, we examined 61 distinct strategies deployed in the initial months of the pandemic to assess empirically which resilience-building mechanisms were actually implemented to navigate the crisis. Our results show that managing connectivity, feedbacks, and learning were essential during the initial part of the pandemic. Other principles such as building diversity, redundancy, polycentricity, and inviting participation become important in rebuilding during the aftermath of a crisis, whereas keeping a systems view, monitoring slow variables, and practicing adaptive management are practices that should be incorporated during regular times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • crisis management
  • governance
  • health
  • resilience thinking
  • social-ecological systems
  • theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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