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Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale…
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Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale Systems (Scientific Committee…

by Lance H. Gunderson

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Scientists and researchers concerned with the behavior of large ecosystems have focused in recent years on the concept of "resilience." Traditional perspectives held that ecological systems exist close to a steady state and resilience is the ability of the system to return rapidly to that state following perturbation. However, beginning with the work of C. S. Holling in the early 1970s, researchers began looking at conditions far from the steady state, where resilience is measured by the magnitude of disturbance that can be absorbed before the system is restructured. Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale Systems examines theories of resilience and change, offering readers a thorough understanding of how the properties of ecological resilience and human adaptability interact in complex, regional-scale systems. The book addresses theoretical concepts of resilience and stability in large-scale ecosystems and the empirical application of those concepts in a diverse set of cases. In addition, it discusses the practical implications of new theoretical approaches and their role in the sustainability of human-modified ecosystems. The book begins with a review of key properties of complex adaptive systems that contribute to overall resilience, including multiple equlibria, complexity, self-organization at multiple scales, and order. Following the introduction are case studies that explore the biophysical dimensions of resilience in terrestrial and aquatic systems, and evaluate the propositions presented. The book concludes with a synthesis section that revisits propositions in light of the case studies, while an appendix presents a detailed account of the relationship between return times for a disturbed system and its resilience. In addition to the editors, contributors include Stephen R. Carpenter, Carl Folke, C. S. Holling, Bengt-Owe Jansson, Donald Ludwig, Ariel Lugo, Tim R. McClanahan, Garry D. Peterson, and Brian H. Walker.… (more)

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