Natural Resources, School of



Shana M. Sundstrom

Document Type


Date of this Version



Sundstrom, S. M., Angeler, D. G., Barichievy, C., Eason, T., Garmestani, A., Gunderson, L., Knutson, M., Nash, K. L., Spanbauer, T., Stow, C., and Allen, C. R. (2018). The distribution and role of functional abundance in cross‐scale resilience. Ecology 99(11): 2421–2432.

doi: 10.1002/ecy.2508


U.S. Government Work


The cross-scale resilience model suggests that system-level ecological resilience emerges from the distribution of species’ functions within and across the spatial and temporal scales of a system. It has provided a quantitative method for calculating the resilience of a given system and so has been a valuable contribution to a largely qualitative field. As it is currently laid out, the model accounts for the spatial and temporal scales at which environmental resources and species are present and the functional roles species play but does not inform us about how much resource is present or how much function is provided. In short, it does not account for abundance in the distribution of species and their functional roles within and across the scales of a system. We detail the ways in which we would expect species’ abundance to be relevant to the cross-scale resilience model based on the extensive abundance literature in ecology. We also put forward a series of testable hypotheses that would improve our ability to anticipate and quantify how resilience is generated, and how ecosystems will (or will not) buffer recent rapid global changes. This stream of research may provide an improved foundation for the quantitative evaluation of ecological resilience.