Resilience enables people and ecosystems to cope with the shocks and stresses associated with these changes, and to adapt and even transform themselves as needed. Yet some changes are so substantial (and, often, abrupt) that they fundamentally alter the functioning of the system: an ecological “tipping point” has been crossed. Scientists call such largely irreversible changes “regime shifts”. Resilience can be cultivated and strengthened. If we understand the key components of resilience, and the extent to which they are present in a given context, we can target activities to enhance each component and fill any gaps.
China is undergoing rapid and dramatic changes. Building resilience is an urgent, immediate need across the region, and while the challenges are great, the Chinese people have a long history of successfully navigating uncertainty and fluctuating conditions.. But the current scope and pace of change means they cannot do it alone. The key characteristics of resilience and the capacity to effectively respond to change– adaptive and transformative capacity – can be identified, evaluated and measured. Monitoring these elements is an important strategy for monitoring resilience, and howpolicy choices may strengthen or undermine it.