Integrated European
Long-Term Ecosystem, critical zone and
socio-ecological Research

What makes a socio-ecological (SE) system more resilient? - Insights from Covid-19

10 October 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic provides an extraordinary opportunity to investigate socio-ecological system resilience by comparing systems undergoing the same shocks at the same time. This research explores resilience, or a society’s capacity to endure external shocks/stress like pandemics or climate change, through the lens of social ecology, a discipline that studies the interconnections between society and its natural environment, viewing them as a single, holistic system.

To discover what characteristics meant some communities for the Covid-19 pandemic were better prepared than others, we first identified general characteristics that have been associated with SE resilience in the academic literature. We found a broad consensus regarding the importance of diversity/redundancy and modularity (connectivity) of the SE system, as a whole (i.e., pertaining to both the social and ecological elements of the system). We then developed a set of indicators that reflect the extent to which a region managed to cope with a pandemic, in retrospect. An analysis of 908 publications by 23 Israeli news, government, and civic organizations showed that economic and social impacts were most emphasized. Specific impacts on businesses, education, healthcare, and the political system were also prominently featured.

In the next phase of this research, we will apply these two sets of variables in a comparative stakeholder-based study across selected eLTSER platforms. This research will showcase the importance and strength of eLTSER platforms and the eLTER network. It will also contribute to the eLTER RI by suggesting resilience indicators to its standardized data collection.

PhD candidate Merav Cohen ( and Assoc. Prof. Daniel Orenstein (,
Social Ecology Research Group, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Thе figure details how many articles referred to each of the Covid-19 impact main topics