Resilience-performance trade-offs in managing social-ecological systems

Mehran Homayounfar, Rachata Muneepeerakul, John M. Anderies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Resilience-based approaches have been attracting attention in governing social-ecological systems facing rapid social and environmental changes. In this article, we investigate the governance policies that focus on resilience. Our analysis is built on a stylized dynamical model that mathematically operationalizes a widely used conceptual framework, which links social components, natural resources, and infrastructure in social-ecological systems. Specifically, we numerically solve the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) equation to determine policies—in the form of investment in public infrastructure—that maximize a quantitative metric of the system’s resilience. For comparison purposes, we also derive policies that maximize the system’s performance and discuss the differences between and implications of the two policies. The results showed that a policy that maximizes performance results in sub-optimal resilience and vice versa. Moreover, our sensitivity analysis suggests that managing resilience requires that one be more responsive to changes in external forcing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB)
  • dynamic optimization
  • ecological resilience
  • resilience-based management
  • socialecological systems (SESs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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