Resilience as a criterion in marine biological evaluation

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Resilience can be defined as the degree to which an ecosystem or a part/component of it is able to recover from disturbance without major persistent change.[1]

Resilience here, is discussed in the context of an Encora project workshop held on marine biological valuation, from 6 to 8 December 2006 at Ghent (Belgium). The workshop was a joint venture of the EU CA ENCORA ( and the EU NoE MARBEF ( Both Theme 7 within ENCORA and Theme 3 within MARBEF deal with marine/coastal biological valuation and the workshop aimed to reach a consensus on this topic. This considered the concept of marine biological diversity evaluation in some detail. This article provides a summary of the main conclusions from the workshop on the use of 'resilience' as a valuation criterion.

'Resilience' was not included in our concept as a valuation criterion (as it is too closely linked to human impact). Of course, resilience can also be the intrinsic quality of a certain biological entity to be able to resist or to recover from natural stresses (e.g. resilience of mangrove communities to climate change stress), but since the term ‘resilience’ is used for resistance to both natural and anthropogenic stresses, it is excluded as an ecological valuation criterion.

The workshop report can be downloaded at (


These paragraphs are based on the paper of Derous et al. (2007). A concept for biological valuation in the marine environment. Oceanologia 49 (1). See FLANDERS MARINE INSTITUTE web site at [1] for the full citation and to download a copy of the paper.

Related articles

Marine biological valuation

Ecosystem services


  1. Orians (1974). Diversity, stability and maturity in natural ecosystems. In: Unifying concepts in ecology, van Dobben W.H., Lowe-McConnell R.H. (eds.), The Hague, Netherlands.