Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems

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Island Press, Dec 1, 2001 - Political Science - 536 pages
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Creating institutions to meet the challenge of sustainability is arguably the most important task confronting society; it is also dauntingly complex. Ecological, economic, and social elements all play a role, but despite ongoing efforts, researchers have yet to succeed in integrating the various disciplines in a way that gives adequate representation to the insights of each.
Panarchy, a term devised to describe evolving hierarchical systems with multiple interrelated elements, offers an important new framework for understanding and resolving this dilemma. Panarchy is the structure in which systems, including those of nature (e.g., forests) and of humans (e.g., capitalism), as well as combined human-natural systems (e.g., institutions that govern natural resource use), are interlinked in continual adaptive cycles of growth, accumulation, restructuring, and renewal. By understanding these cycles and their scales, researchers can identify the points at which a system is capable of accepting positive change, and can use those points to foster resilience within the system.
This volume brings together leading thinkers on the subject to develop and examine the concept of panarchy and to consider how it can be applied to human, natural, and human-natural systems. Throughout, contributors seek to identify adaptive approaches to management that recognize uncertainty and encourage innovation while fostering resilience.
The book is a fundamental new development in a widely acclaimed line of inquiry. It represents the first step in integrating disciplinary knowledge for the adaptive management of human-natural systems across widely divergent scales, and offers an important base of knowledge from which institutions for adaptive management can be developed. It will be an invaluable source of ideas and understanding for students, researchers, and professionals involved with ecology, conservation biology, ecological economics, environmental policy, or related fields.
 

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Contents

Part II Theories of Change
23
Part III Myths Models and Metaphors
171
Part IV Linking Theory to Practice
291
Part V Summary and Synthesis
393
Appendix A A Model for Ecosystems with Alternative Stable States
439
Appendix B Optimizing Social Utility from Lake Use
441
Appendix C Tax as a Way to Direct Society
443
Appendix D Collective Action Problems and Their Effect on Political Power
445
References
449
List of Contributors
489
Index
493
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

L. H. Gunderson is professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. C. S. Holling is emeritus eminent scholar in the Department of Zoology at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

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