Resilience and coastal governance: knowledge and navigation between stability and transformation

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Several intergovernmental agreements highlight the need for resilience in the face of environmental and societal challenges. Coastal systems are particularly complex and susceptible to global climate change, and building human resilience to future changes is of high priority. While the concept of resilience has historically been associated with stability to perturbations, the notion of transformation within the social-ecological resilience (SER) approach has recently gained importance in ecosystem management. In order to operationalize resilience in the context of coastal governance in a changing climate, a better understanding of the concept is required. This paper provides an overview of different approaches to resilience, including stability and transformation, in order to understand resilience as a concept in a coastal governance context. Subsequently, we propose five steps and three types of knowledge (system, target, transformative) with which to embed SER in coastal governance. In addition, we consider scale and system boundaries; identify (un)desirable system characteristics and the role of normative goals and common visions in resilience management. Finally, we highlight the central role that local actors and information services play in fostering a two-way exchange between science and society and tailoring solutions for establishing or enhancing SER to the needs of local actors. We conclude that the navigation between stability and transformation within the concept of resilience is central to finding sustainable future pathways in the face of climate change.
ZeitschriftEcology and Society
Anzahl der Seiten15
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.06.2022

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
Lena Rölfer and Louis Celliers acknowledge funding from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon project I2B CoastalClimateServices@GERICS. We thank Laurens Bouwer for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Figures were produced using Inkscape (www. and This work contributes to Future Earth Coasts, a Global Research Project of Future Earth.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance.