In this week’s issue of Science Jack Liu, Director of CSIS (and my boss), and colleagues present a review of recent research on Coupled Human And Natural Systems (CHANS). Using six case studies from around the world the paper discusses these coupled systems with regards spatial, temporal and organisational units, nonlinear dynamics and feedback loops between systems, the importance of history within these sytems, and aspects of their resilience and heterogeneity. We’ll be discussing the paper within the center next week so maybe I’ll have some more insightful comments then. For now, here’s the abstract:
Integrated studies of coupled human and natural systems reveal new and complex patterns and processes not evident when studied by social or natural scientists separately. Synthesis of six case studies from around the world shows that couplings between human and natural systems vary across space, time, and organizational units. They also exhibit nonlinear dynamics with thresholds, reciprocal feedback loops, time lags, resilience, heterogeneity, and surprises. Furthermore, past couplings have legacy effects on present conditions and future possibilities.
Complexity of Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Jianguo Liu , Thomas Dietz, Stephen R. Carpenter, Marina Alberti, Carl Folke, Emilio Moran, Alice N. Pell, Peter Deadman, Timothy Kratz, Jane Lubchenco, Elinor Ostrom, Zhiyun Ouyang, William Provencher, Charles L. Redman, Stephen H. Schneider, William W. Taylor
Science 14 September 2007
Vol. 317. no. 5844, pp. 1513 – 1516
Also online here`