Unifying Research on Socio-Ecological Resilience and Collapse


After reviewing different definitions of collapse across several fields, Graeme Cumming and Garry Peterson outline specific criteria with which to assess collapse and apply them to historical and ecological examples. They emphasize the need for standard, testable, definitions and a baseline measurement, or “identity,” of a system to better understand if it has collapsed. “It is impossible to measure change without a clear reference point. Such a reference point can be provided by the concept of identity… identity is defined by key components and relationships that must be maintained through time and space for the system to be considered the same system.”


Graeme S. Cumming and Garry D. Peterson

Publication Date

19 July 2017


Trends in Ecology & Evolution (vol. 32, iss. 9)



Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed


Resource Theme

Societal Collapse • Sustainability and Transition
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