Resilience is a polysemous concept, originated from physical dynamics (assessed as the time spent to come back to a normal situation after a disruption), then transferred to the social sciences and invested in particular in psychology (capacity to recover from a trauma), economics ( strength to a choc) or social issues (we speak then about resilient communities). It can be defined as the capacity of an individual, a collective, an organization or an (eco)system to rectrieve a normal activity after a disruption in its working process, or as the “level of disruption or tension that an (eco)system can take in while remaining able to come back to its previous state [1]”. Here, we favor its application in the ecological field, in which it “keeps […] the primitive physical meaning [and] depends on the intensity of the disruption. Under this form, the concept joins a paradigm of mono-balance, in which every system only knows one state of balance from which it goes away more or less [2]”.
Within the ecosystemic analysis, three answers are distinguished when facing an external disruption : resilience, resistance and persistence [3]. The notion of resilience is then a tool bringing strategic help in the service of a new form of risk management, based on the link between vulnerability and resilience [4] and aims to reduce as much as possible the randomness impacts, and not to resist to them [5].


[2cf. André Dauphiné & Damienne Provitolo, « La résilience : un concept pour la gestion des risques », Geography annals 2/2007 (n° 654), p. 115-125 :

[3cf. Aber J. & J.M. Melillo, Terrestrial Ecosystems. Saunders College Publishing, 1991, 429p., quoted in : Furthermore we can notice that persistence measures “the only constancy from a state to a state of reference [whereas] the impact strength corresponds to ability of an ecosystem to go back to the equilibrium state after a disruption”, cf. Dauphiné & Provitolo, Op.cit.

[4“(…) a system more resilient is less vulnerable. Yet, if the vulnerability is a negative concept, the impact strength is a concept referring to a positive notion”. […] Indeed, a system which is losing a part of its impact strength becomes more vulnerable. Nevertheless, the vulnerability involves two composits : displaying of randomness and resistence.” cf. Dauphiné & Provitolo, Op.cit.

[5« Using the actual example of climatic change. Let’s suppose that to simplify the question that it’s real. Face to this threat exists two solutions. The first, built of a strategy of strength impact, is illustrated by the Kyoto treaty. It imposes to reduce the greenhouse gas emission. This solution has an economic cost, but also a social one very high. Another solution exists, based on strength impact, promote another development with money spent to reduce the Kyoto goals. It’s not only about fighting against global warming, but to reduce its effects. […] It’s difficult to give an opinion about the best strategy to implement, but the two options exist, and are really differents”. cf. Dauphiné & Provitolo, Op.cit.