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Complexity Theory for a Sustainable Future

Series: Complexity in Ecological Systems Series

Edited By: Jon Norberg and Graeme Cumming

315 pages, Figs, tab

Columbia University Press

Paperback | Aug 2008 | #170899 | ISBN-13: 9780231134613
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £29.99 $40/€34 approx
Hardback | Jul 2008 | #170900 | ISBN-13: 9780231134606
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £92.99 $123/€105 approx

About this book

Working for a sustainable future involves understanding the complex interactions between natural and social systems, and in recent years, a body of theory relating to this complexity has arisen from economics, physics, biology, and the social sciences. Complexity theory has great potential for exploring issues stemming from the relationship between humans and nature, especially those dealing with complex adaptive systems, and captures many of the system behaviors characteristic of human and natural systems.

One of the theory's major emphases is on understanding the conditions that are required for system selforganization, as the capacity of any system to self-organize is crucial for its persistence (sustainability) over time.

This book is a novel contribution, showing how complexity theory can be applied to environmental and management problems, with a special focus on issues of sustainability. The contributing authors are leaders in the field, making the volume ideal for scholars and environmental engineering practitioners across the world.


PrefaceIntroductionJon Norberg and Graeme S. CummingIntroduction to Part 1: Diversity and Heterogeneity1. Environmental AsymmetriesGraeme S. Cumming, Grenville Barnes, and Jane Southworth2. Diversity and Resilience of Social-Ecological SystemsJon Norberg, James Wilson, Brian Walker, and Elinor OstromIntroduction to Part 2: Networks3. A Network Perspective on Modularity and Control of Flow in Robust SystemsColleen Webb and Orjan Bodin4: Social Networks as Sources of Resilience in Social-Ecological SystemsThomas Hahn, Lisen Schultz, Carl Folke, and Per OlssonIntroduction to Part 3: Information Processing5. Theoretical Challenges: Information Processing and Navigation in Social-Ecological SystemsJohn M. Anderies and Jon Norberg6. Regime Shifts, Environmental Signals, Uncertainty, and Policy ChoiceWilliam A. Brock, Stephen R. Carpenter, and Marten SchefferIntroduction to Part 4: Practical Approaches7. Participation in Building Scenarios of Regional DevelopmentLouis Lebel and Elena Bennett8. Practicing Adaptive Management in Complex Social-Ecological SystemsLance Gunderson, Garry Peterson, and C. S. Holling9. Scale and Complex SystemsGraeme Cumming and Jon NorbergComplexity Theory for a Sustainable Future: Conclusions and OutlookJon Norberg and Graeme CummingIndex

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Jon Norberg is assistant professor of systems ecology at Stockholm University and is affiliated as a researcher with the Stockholm Resilience Center. Coming from a background in ecology, Norberg has become more transdisciplinary, studying the role of social phenomena such as information sharing and trust building for resource management. He completed his post-doc at Princeton University with Simon Levin and has been a long term participant in the resilience alliance. Graeme S. Cumming is Pola Pasvolsky Chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Cape Town. He runs a wide-ranging research program that focuses on the broad-scale spatial and temporal dynamics of ecological communities and ecosystems, with particular interests in conservation, resilience, and sustainability.

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