Toward a network perspective of the study of resilience in social-ecological systems

Marcus Janssen, Örjan Bodin, John Anderies, Thomas Elmqvist, Henrik Ernstson, Ryan R J McAllister, Per Olsson, Paul Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

418 Scopus citations


Formal models used to study the resilience of social-ecological systems have not explicitly included important structural characteristics of this type of system. In this paper, we propose a network perspective for social-ecological systems that enables us to better focus on the structure of interactions between identifiable components of the system. This network perspective might be useful for developing formal models and comparing case studies of social-ecological systems. Based on an analysis of the case studies in this special issue, we identify three types of social-ecological networks: (1) ecosystems that are connected by people through flows of information or materials, (2) ecosystem networks that are disconnected and fragmented by the actions of people, and (3) artificial ecological networks created by people, such as irrigation systems. Each of these three archytypal social-ecological networks faces different problems that influence its resilience as it responds to the addition or removal of connections that affect its coordination or the diffusion of system attributes such as information or disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Network topology
  • Resilience
  • Social-ecological networks
  • Social-ecological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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