Professor Chadwick Dearing Oliver has made major intellectual contributions to forest science and natural resources management. Over the course of his career, he has actively sought to bring research and practice together through synthesis, outreach, and capacity-building. A common thread throughout his career has been complexity and how we as a society understand and manage complex systems. His work on forest stand dynamics, landscape management, and sustainability has all focused on the emergent properties of complex ecological and/or social systems. This volume celebrates a remarkable career through a diverse group of former students and colleagues who work on a wide range of subject areas related to the management of complex natural resource systems.
Over the past decade, there has been considerable discussion about forests as complex adaptive systems. Advances in remote sensing, social methods, and data collection and processing have enabled more detailed characterisations of complex natural systems across spatial and temporal scales than ever before. Making sense of these data, however, requires conceptual frameworks that are robust to the complexity of the systems and their inherent dynamics, particularly in the context of global change.
Forests as Complex Social and Ecological Systems presents a collection of cutting-edge research on natural ecosystems and their dynamics through the lens of complex adaptive systems. Each chapter offers new insights into how these systems can be made more resilient to ensure that they provide a diversity of ecological and social values well into the future. Together they provide a robust way of thinking about the many challenges that natural ecosystems face and how we as a society may best address them.
Patrick Baker is a Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses on the dynamics of complex forests. He has worked in forests in continental Southeast Asia, Hawaii, Sri Lanka and southern India, southeastern Australia, the Andes, western North America, and the Himalayas. His research uses dendrochronology and long-term forest inventory plots to understand how forest structure and composition change over time, how climate, disturbances, and other factors have driven these changes, and how this knowledge can inform forest management practices in a changing world.
David R. Larsen is a Professor Emeritus of Quantitative Silviculture at the University of Missouri. His research focuses on the modelling of forest structure and dynamics. He has worked in forests of Western and Eastern North America, Northern Europe and Mediterranean Europe and North-Eastern China. His research uses computer models of forest dynamics and ground-based remote sensing to collect and analyse spatial relationships in forests. He has also developed and used statistical methods for analysing spatially structured forest data such as restricted probability models for survival analysis, multivariate regression trees, and areas potentially available in a weighted constrained context to analysis forest spatial patterns. This work has heavily depended on the rare resource of permanent sample plots as a window into the long-term dynamics of these forest systems. These tools have been applied to conifer and broad-leaf forests, regeneration, growth, mortality, and ecological and wood-quality processes. The tools are designed to help understand the likely consequences of how the climate and human interactions may change the forests of the world.
Alark Saxena is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management at the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University. His research is situated at the intersection of complex interactions between human and natural systems. Using livelihood, socio-ecological systems, and complex adaptive systems approach Alark models the coupled and dynamic relationships between forest and people to enable decision-making for sustainability within a rapidly changing world. Alark's current research focuses on the resilience of forest-dependent communities to climate change, dynamic interactions between refugee communities with their environment, the role of forest as a safety net during crises, and wood-based infrastructure as a Nature-Based Solution for increased resilience to earthquakes in urban mountain landscapes. Alark’s current research work is spread across South Asia and the Himalayas (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, India), the Caribbean, and Southwest United States.