Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



MathisonSlee, M., S. J. Lade, C. D. Barnes, K. Benessaiah, E. T. H. Crockett, A. S. Downing, J. A. Fowler, R. Belisle-Toler, S. Sharma, and K. J. Winkler. 2022. Fourteen propositions for resilience, fourteen years later. Ecology and Society 27(3):8. https://doi. org/10.5751/ES-13248-270308


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


In 2006, Walker et al. published an article titled, “A Handful of Heuristics and Some Propositions for Understanding Resilience in Social-ecological Systems.” The article was incorporated into the Ecology and Society special feature, Exploring Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems. Walker et al. identified five heuristics and posed 14 propositions for understanding resilience in social-ecological systems. At the time, the authors hoped the paper would promote experimentation, critique, and application of these ideas in resilience and social-ecological systems research. To determine the extent to which these propositions have achieved the authors’ hopes, we reviewed the scientific literature on socialecological systems since the article was published. Using Scopus, we identified 627 articles that cited the Walker et al. article. We then identified and assessed the articles relative to each proposition. In addition, we conducted a more general Scopus review for articles that did not cite the Walker et al. article specifically but incorporated a proposition’s concepts. Overall, articles often cite Walker et al. as a reference for a definition of a heuristic or ecological resilience generally and not to reference a specific proposition. Nonetheless, every proposition was at least mentioned in the literature and used to advance resilience scholarship on social-ecological systems. Eleven propositions were tested by multiple articles through application of case studies or other research, and 7 of the 11 propositions were substantially discussed and advanced. Finally, three propositions were heavily critiqued either as concepts in resilience literature or in their application.