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You are here: Home 2010 Weekly Sessions Session 4 – 10.4.2010 The human-environment system: A conceptual framework (Speaker: B.L. Turner II) Supplemental Readings from moderator/discussant Elizabeth King, Princeton Univ
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Supplemental Readings from moderator/discussant Elizabeth King, Princeton Univ

Carpenter et al 2009.pdf
Carpenter, S. R., C. Folke, M. Scheffer, and F. Westley. 2009. Resilience: accounting for the noncomputable. Ecology and Society 14(1):13. Plans to solve complex environmental problems should always consider the role of surprise. Nevertheless, there is a tendency to emphasize known computable aspects of a problem while neglecting aspects that are unknown and failing to ask questions about them. The tendency to ignore the noncomputable can be countered by considering a wide range of perspectives, encouraging transparency with regard to conflicting viewpoints, stimulating a diversity of models, and managing for the emergence of new syntheses that reorganize fragmentary knowledge.
Liu et al 2007.pdf
Liu, J. G., T. Dietz, S. R. Carpenter et al. 2007. Complexity of coupled human and natural systems. Science 317(5844):1513-1516. This article provides a concise treatment of key characteristics of complex systems, which we must appreciate in order to evaluate sustainability. It is nicely illustrated by six case studies, all of which are subjects of ongoing research under the Coupled Human And Natural Systems (CHANS) research program of the NSF. They show 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.