Panarchy: opportunities and challenges for ecosystem management

Ahjond Garmestani, Dirac Twidwell, David G. Angeler, Shana Sundstrom, Chris Barichievy, Brian C. Chaffin, Tarsha Eason, Nick Graham, Dean Granholm, Lance Gunderson, Melinda Knutson, Kirsty L. Nash, R. John Nelson, Magnus Nystrom, Trisha L. Spanbauer, Craig A. Stow, Craig R. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Addressing unexpected events and uncertainty represents one of the grand challenges of the Anthropocene, yet ecosystem management is constrained by existing policy and laws that were not formulated to deal with today's accelerating rates of environmental change. In many cases, managing for simple regulatory standards has resulted in adverse outcomes, necessitating innovative approaches for dealing with complex social–ecological problems. We highlight a project in the US Great Plains where panarchy – a conceptual framework that emerged from resilience – was implemented at project onset to address the continued inability to halt large-scale transition from grass-to-tree dominance in central North America. We review how panarchy was applied, the initial outcomes and evidence for policy reform, and the opportunities and challenges for which it could serve as a useful model to contrast with traditional ecosystem management approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-583
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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