Tag Archives: systems

Links: R, Thai floods, Mongolian Herders, Oberlin, and Ashby

1) A set of ‘cheat sheets’ for programming various things in R – data mining, multiple regression, time series analysis, etc.

2) From AlertNet Thailand needs long term strategy to deal with floods.

3)  From Solutions magazine Mongolian herders practice adaptive co-management

4) Environmental studies professor David Orr leads an attempt to transform Oberlin, Ohio into a national leader in sustainability – in a way similar to transition town movement.

5) W. Ross Ashby digital archive. An online archive of influential systems thinker’s work.  Lots of stuff.  For example, here are his notes on his homeostat.

6) In 2009 The International Journal of General Systems, 38(2), featured a special issue about “The Intellectual Legacy of W. Ross Ashby.” Unfortunately only the introduction is open access.

7) The Institute on the Environment (IonE) is searching for 4 world-class postdoctoral scientists to join the Global Landscapes Initiative (GLI), which is focused on understanding global-scale changes in land use, agriculture, food security, and the environment. For full info see: PostDoc Scientists.

Conceptualizing Social-Ecological Systems

I’ve recently been teaching about social-ecological systems and because I think it is important to conceptualize systems graphically these discussions caused me to reflect on the conceptual diagrams of social-ecological systems

Conceptualizing something as a social-ecological system hides some aspects of reality to focus on others. Social-ecological systems focus on the interactions and
Factors that distinguish social-ecological systems from other approach feedbacks between social and ecological, in particular how social and ecological alter one another and “co-evolve.”

As a systems approach it focuses on structures and processes, but because it comes from a resilience orientation in is particularly interested in how these structures persist and reorganize in response to shocks, gradual changes, or purposeful transformations.

Below are a number of different takes on conceptual diagrams of social-ecological systems that I think show some different aspects of social-ecological systems.

There are many other conceptual diagrams of social-ecological systems and I’d welcome any comments that point to other papers that have particularly interesting or different conceptual diagrams.

The full citations of the papers are:

  • Berkes, Folke, and Colding editors. 2003. Navigating Social Ecological Systems. Cambridge University Press.
  • Chapin, F.S., Lovecraft, A.L., Zavaleta, E.S., Nelson, J., Robards, M.D., Kofinas, G.P., Trainor, S.F., Peterson, G.D., Huntington, H.P. & Naylor, R.L. (2006) Policy strategies to address sustainability of Alaskan boreal forests in response to a directionally changing climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103, 16637-43. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0606955103
  • Anderies, J. M., M. A. Janssen, and E. Ostrom. 2004. A framework to analyze the robustness of social-ecological systems from an institutional perspective. Ecology and Society 9(1): 18. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss1/art18/
  • Bennett, E.M., Peterson, G.D. & Gordon, L.J. (2009) Understanding relationships among multiple ecosystem services. Ecology Letters, 12, 1394-404. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01387.x