Interpreting resilience through long-term ecology: Potential insights in western mediterranean landscapes

Graciela Gil-Romera, Lourdes López-Merino, José S. Carrión, Penélope González-Sampériz, Celia Martín-Puertas, José A.López Sáez, Santiago Fernández, Mercedes García Antón, Vania Stefanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Many studies on ecosystem resilience often lack sufficiently long time scales to determine potential cycles of landscape response. In this paper we review some examples on how palaeoecology has provided an important aid to modern ecology in understanding ecosystem resilience. We focus some of these ideas on two Holocene sites from Southern Spain (Zoñar and Gádor) where current plant diversity is very high. Both sites presented resilient pattern at centennial and millennial time scales with several stable phases. Vegetation in Zoñar proved to be very sensitive to environmental changes, especially moisture availability while forest in Gádor responded elastically to fire and drought to a threshold level when the forest recede to a more open landscape. We conclude that any serious attempt to understand ecosystem resilience should include the long-term perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalOpen Ecology Journal
Issue numberSPEC.ISS.1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Biodiversity
  • Holocene
  • Iberian peninsula
  • Landscape dynamics
  • Palaeoecology
  • Palynological methods

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