Community resistance to, and resilience from, perturbation will determine the trajectory of recovery from disturbance. Although selective timber extraction is considered a severe disturbance, fish communities from headwater streams around Danum Valley Field Centre, Sabah, Malaysia, showed few long–term changes in species composition or abundance. However, some species showed short–term (< 18 months) absence or decrease in abundance. These observations suggested that both resistance and resilience were important in maintaining long–term fish community structure. Resistance to perturbation was tested by monitoring fish communities before and after the creation of log–debris dams, while resilience was investigated by following the time–course of recolonization following complete removal of all fish. High community resistance was generally shown although the response was site–specific, dependent on the composition of the starting community, the size of the stream and physical habitat changes. High resilience was demonstrated in all recolonization experiments with strong correlations between pre– and post–defaunation communities, although there was a significant difference between pool and riffle habitats in the time–course of recovery. These differences can be explained by the movement characteristics of the species found in the different habitats. Resilience appeared to be a more predictable characteristic of the community than resistance and the implications of this for ensuring the long–term persistence of fish in the area are discussed.