Based on the previous research findings about resilience, this study focused on the differences between resilience and adaptation from an agricultural drought case study in southern China. A conceptual variation between resilience and adaptation was explored to understand the distinction between resilience and adaptation. In fact, both are attributes of hazard-affected bodies and have connections and differences. Resilience pays more attention to the short-term response to loss (potential) during and post disaster, while adaptation places stress on system’s response to disaster risk before disaster, loss or impacts inand after disaster in the long term in order to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience. Land use and crop structure change, land policy change and labors turnover present the detailed differences between resilience and adaptation in the case study. Deficiencies of human resources, technology and policy in adapting to disaster risks were founded and discussed. This perspective would offer a way with greater potential in application of adaptation concept, especially in the process of integrated risk governance and regional sustainable development.