Exit time as a measure of ecological resilience

Babak M.S. Arani, Stephen R. Carpenter, Leo Lahti, Egbert H. Van Nes*, Marten Scheffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Ecological resilience is the magnitude of the largest perturbation from which a system can still recover to its original state. However, a transition into another state may often be invoked by a series of minor synergistic perturbations rather than a single big one. We show how resilience can be estimated in terms of average life expectancy, accounting for this natural regime of variability. We use time series to fit a model that captures the stochastic as well as the deterministic components. The model is then used to estimate the mean exit time from the basin of attraction. This approach offers a fresh angle to anticipating the chance of a critical transition at a time when high-resolution time series are becoming increasingly available.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaay4895
Issue number6547
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021


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