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Introduction to Resilience

Increased intensity and frequency of mass coral bleaching requires us to respond with innovative new strategies to build resilience into MPAs. Building coral reef survivability based on patterns of resistance and resilience into MPA management strategies is a relatively new concept.

Until recently, resilience* had never been explicitly defined or listed as a criterion for MPA selection or MPA design, nor had it been factored into large-scale ecoregional planning. Yet the concept of resilience demonstrates that there are positive actions we can take to counter potentially devastating impacts of climate-related bleaching.What do we mean by resilience?

The ability of systems to absorb, resist or recover from disturbances or to adapt to change while continuing to maintain essential functions and processes is the essence of ecological resilience. When we speak of reef resilience, we are referring to coral reefs that are able to bounce back or recover after experiencing a stressful event such as bleaching caused by elevated temperatures. When we talk about resistance, we are referring to communities that remain relatively unchanged in the face of a major disturbance or event such as bleaching.



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