Beyond Measure: Reducing resilience to a few measurements can block deeper understanding

Today, resilience thinking extends far beyond ecology and natural resource management to fields such as international development, health and disaster management.

This rapid uptake has challenged the resilience research community to come up with tools for assessments and quantitative measures.

Resilience, however, as a property of agricultural systems, cities and other complex adaptive social-ecological systems, does not lend itself easily to measurement.

Garry Peterson, co-author of a new study on measuring and assessing resilience, warns that while metrics of resilience are well underway there are growing concern about what exactly is being measured.

There is also a concern that this shift in focus misses the point of what resilience thinking is really about:

"While measurement can help managers navigate among complex choices, often a focus on measurement results in management of what is easy to measure rather than important goals," he says.


1. There is a growing concern about how what exactly is being measured.
2. Many attempts to measure resilience have little relationship to resilience. 
3. Study provides six recommendations to improve resilience assessment and measurement.

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