Ecosystem Stability

Stability = Resistance + Resilience

Creating and maintaining a healthy ecosystem is more difficult than it sounds because there are so many different variables interacting and evolving. An ecosystem’s stability is measured in terms of its resistance and resilience, which is also true for the stability of the individuals within it—more on that in a later section. Ecosystems with a high degree of stability may have different combinations of resistance and resilience. An ecosystem can have high resistance to disturbance but low resilience, and vice versa.

Resistance is the ability of an ecosystem to remain unchanged when being subjected to disturbance(s).  Resilience is the ability and rate of an ecosystem to recover from a disturbance and return to its pre-disturbed structure and functions.


Threats to Stability

The stability of a social model can be decreased due to:

  • Wrong number or a mix of people – A critical mass of participants is needed to cultivate social model recovery. Who is in the community is just as important as how many. Too many newcomers compared to mentors or leaders can be destabilizing. Allowing individuals into the social model who don’t have the same recovery goals can also significantly impact.
  • Toxic interplay – Unhealthy and overly stressful conflicts between participants and leadership can destabilize the social model.  The design and location of the space can also create a toxic interplay between individuals and the setting. 

Increased Stability

Stability is increased within a social model program by:

  • Keystone leaders and roles
  • Diversity of people, policies, and interplay