Panarchy Glossary

Adaptive Cycle

The interactions among the biotic and abiotic elements of system within a single scale, including elements’ organization, growth, and decay.

Ecological Resilience

The capacity of a system to withstand disturbances without altering established processes, functions, and structures. This concept can be applied to other systems such as economies, governments, or companies, despite the term “ecological”. 


Method of structural organization where influence only travels from the top scale through middle scales (if any) to the bottom scale.


A nested set of adaptive cycles. Unlike in a hierarchy, influence comes not just from the top down but also from the bottom up.


Pathway in a panarchy that occurs when the renewal phase of the scale organizes according to the structure and processes of the larger and slower scale above it.


Pathway in a panarchy that occurs when events at fast and small scales accumulate and overwhelm structures at large and slow scales.


A whole made up of interacting components.