Response diversity as a sustainability strategy

Brian Walker, Anne Sophie Crépin*, Magnus Nyström, John M. Anderies, Erik Andersson, Thomas Elmqvist, Cibele Queiroz, Scott Barrett, Elena Bennett, Juan Camilo Cardenas, Stephen R. Carpenter, F.S. Chapin, Aart de Zeeuw, Joern Fischer, Carl Folke, Simon Levin, Karine Nyborg, Stephen Polasky, Kathleen Segerson, Karen C. SetoMarten Scheffer, Jason F. Shogren, Alessandro Tavoni, Jeroen van den Bergh, Elke U. Weber, Jeffrey R. Vincent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Financial advisers recommend a diverse portfolio to respond to market fluctuations across sectors. Similarly, nature has evolved a diverse portfolio of species to maintain ecosystem function amid environmental fluctuations. In urban planning, public health, transport and communications, food production, and other domains, however, this feature often seems ignored. As we enter an era of unprecedented turbulence at the planetary level, we argue that ample responses to this new reality — that is, response diversity — can no longer be taken for granted and must be actively designed and managed. We describe here what response diversity is, how it is expressed and how it can be enhanced and lost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-629
Number of pages9
JournalNature Sustainability
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2023


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