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Volume 9, issue 4 | Copyright

Special issue: Social dynamics and planetary boundaries in Earth system...

Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 1159-1168, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-9-1159-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 05 Oct 2018

Research article | 05 Oct 2018

Linking resilience and robustness and uncovering their trade-offs in coupled infrastructure systems

Mehran Homayounfar1, Rachata Muneepeerakul1, John M. Anderies2, and Chitsomanus P. Muneepeerakul3 Mehran Homayounfar et al.
  • 1Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  • 2School of Sustainability and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA
  • 3independent researcher, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Abstract. Robustness and resilience are concepts in systems thinking that have grown in importance and popularity. For many complex social-ecological systems, however, robustness and resilience are difficult to quantify and the connections and trade-offs between them difficult to study. Most studies have either focused on qualitative approaches to discuss their connections or considered only one of them under particular classes of disturbances. In this study, we present an analytical framework to address the linkage between robustness and resilience more systematically. Our analysis is based on a stylized dynamical model that operationalizes a widely used conceptual framework for social-ecological systems. The model enables us to rigorously delineate the boundaries of conditions under which the coupled system can be sustained in a long run, define robustness and resilience related to these boundaries, and consequently investigate their connections. The results reveal the trade-offs between robustness and resilience. They also show how the nature of such trade-offs varies with the choice of certain policies (e.g., taxation and investment in public infrastructure), internal stresses, and uncertainty in social-ecological settings.

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For many complex social-ecological systems, robustness and resilience are difficult to quantify and the connections and trade-offs between them difficult to study. In this study, we present an analytical framework to address the linkage between robustness and resilience more systematically. The results reveal the trade-offs between robustness and resilience. They also show how the nature of such trade-offs varies with the choices of certain policies, internal stresses, and external disturbances.
For many complex social-ecological systems, robustness and resilience are difficult to quantify...
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