This book provides a theory to overcome the problem of identifying the principles behind the interdependence of different aspects of nature. Climate, vegetation, geology, landforms, soils, hydrology, and other environmental factors are all linked. Many scientists agree that there must be some general principles about the way in which earth surface systems operate, and about the ways the interactions of the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere manifest themselves. Yet there may be inherent limits on our ability to understand and isolate these interactions using traditional reductionist science. The argument of this book is that the simultaneous presence of order and chaos reflects fundamental, common properties of earth surface processes and systems. It shows how and why this is the case, in examples ranging from evolutionary and geological time scales, to micro-scale examinations of process mechanics.
This compact and concise treatise is about complexity, order and scale in Earth surface systems... For the committed student (of any age, experience or level), the sustained discussion of the nature of ESS offered here can only contribute to increased understanding... this book is a welcome addition to an important debate. M. F. Thomas, University of Stirling "I find Philips book entertaining and informative and above all written with a spirit of enthusiasm that should inspire the reader to think in new ways about old problems and perhaps to go the mathematical literature and look for further methodological knowledge." Anders Karlqvist, "..presents a most interesting view of the nature of earth surface systems...it is certainly a book that deserves a place in all university libraries." The South African Geographical Journal
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