Volume 12: Resilience

Published in 2004

The ability to persevere over the long run, to ride out or overcome myriad challenges, requires the special capacity of resilience. Resilience is an evolutionary response to the dynamic character of ecosystems. It is a necessary element for the endurance of communities, where environmental and economic issues are often at odds. And resilience is a vital prerequisite for successful environmental work, where optimism must be maintained in the face of seemingly intractable issues.

Whether conceptualized daily or in ecological time scales, resilience is an important component of ecological and social communities. What sparks the transforming energy of an urban community garden? Why are some endangered species able to recover? How do some environmentalists sustain lifelong endeavors without losing faith or focus? What will it take for critically endangered ecosystems like coral reefs to rebound? Is the success of an invasive species such as European buckthorn a harmful form of resilience?

Whole Terrain invites reflections on the resilience required by community efforts and natural systems, and the characteristics—dignity, wisdom, flexibility, courage, humility, and humor—that make it possible.

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