Resilience or resiliency is considered a critical property of adaptation for communities in the face of acute environmental, economic, and social change. In this context, resiliency can be described as the ability of a community to return to conditions that are functionally similar to pre-event conditions after a disturbance. Resiliency is often understood through three basic properties: 1) resistance, 2) response, and 3) recovery. In nature, recovery often results in states that are functionally similar to pre-event conditions, though not necessarily organized identically, perhaps with assemblages of different species performing similar ecosystem functions.
Recent developments in the field have used a "creativity criterion," which suggests that highly adaptable communities will seize opportunities to achieve higher functional states following perturbations. For communities that are "overdeveloped" in certain functional areas to the degree of being vulnerable and perhaps even dysfunctional, it may be desirable to establish different functional states.
Some recent accounts in the field have suggested that resiliency should succeed sustainability as a more appropriate approach to managing communities. The view taken here is that resiliency is a fundamental property of sustainability and not a distinct concept.