Complexity of Coupled Human and Natural Systems


Jianguo "Jack" Liu; Thomas Dietz; Carpenter, Stephen; Alberti, Marina; Folke, Carl; Moran, Emilio; Pell, Alice; Deadman, Peter; Kratz, Timothy; Lubchenco, Jane; Ostrom, Elinor; Ouyang, Zhiuyn; Provencher, William; Redman, Charles; Schneider, Stephen H.; William W. Taylor

Journal or Book Title: Science

Volume/Issue: 317

Page Number(s): 1513-1516

Year Published: 2007


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.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1144004

Type of Publication: Journal Article