A resilience-based policy evaluation framework : application to European rural development policies

M.A.H. Schouten, C.M. van der Heide, W.J.M. Heijman, P.F.M. Opdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Given the major changes that rural areas have undergone, and are continuing to undergo, serious problems of achieving sustainable development are being experienced. These changes have multiple characters, varying from changes in ecosystem conditions to changes in socio-economic impacts, due to, for example, food- and financial crises. Nowadays, there is an increasing awareness of the need to develop rural policies that support adaptive strategies of stakeholders in response to a disturbance. We propose that resilience thinking offers a framework that could be helpful in the governance of rural changes. This framework is based on the complexity of the social–ecological system and takes into account the unpredictable future, as it emphasizes adaptive approaches to management. As such, it helps evaluate to what extent rural development policies contribute to the resilience of rural areas. Nine criteria were developed including thirteen specifications. In order to evaluate the usability and usefulness of the proposed framework, a case study has been performed that specifically investigated the degree of resilience of a European rural development policy (i.e. the spending of extra funds generated through compulsory modulation under the 2009 Health Check in the Netherlands)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • social-ecological systems
  • ecosystem services
  • management
  • biodiversity
  • landscape
  • capacity
  • metaphor
  • areas
  • world


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