Integrating subjective and objective dimensions of resilience in fire-prone landscapes

Philip E. Higuera, Alexander L. Metcalf, Carol Miller, Brian Buma, David B. McWethy, Elizabeth C. Metcalf, Zak Ratajczak, Cara R. Nelson, Brian C. Chaffin, Richard C. Stedman, Sarah McCaffrey, Tania Schoennagel, Brian J. Harvey, Sharon M. Hood, Courtney A. Schultz, Anne E. Black, David Campbell, Julia H. Haggerty, Robert E. Keane, Meg A. KrawchukJudith C. Kulig, Rebekah Rafferty, Arika Virapongse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Resilience has become a common goal for science-based natural resource management, particularly in the context of changing climate and disturbance regimes. Integrating varying perspectives and definitions of resilience is a complex and often unrecognized challenge to applying resilience concepts to social–ecological systems (SESs) management. Using wildfire as an example, we develop a framework to expose and separate two important dimensions of resilience: the inherent properties that maintain structure, function, or states of an SES and the human perceptions of desirable or valued components of an SES. In doing so, the framework distinguishes between value-free and human-derived, value-explicit dimensions of resilience. Four archetypal scenarios highlight that ecological resilience and human values do not always align and that recognizing and anticipating potential misalignment is critical for developing effective management goals. Our framework clarifies existing resilience theory, connects literature across disciplines, and facilitates use of the resilience concept in research and land-management applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-388
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Adaptation
  • Ecological resilience
  • Social resilience
  • Social–ecological systems
  • Wildfire
  • Wildland


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