From climate change to species extinction, humanity is confronted with an increasing array of societal and environmental challenges that defy simple quantifiable solutions. Complexity-based ecology provides a new paradigm for ecologists and conservationists keen to embrace the uncertainty that is pressed upon us. This book presents key research papers chosen by some sixty scholars from various continents, across a diverse span of sub-disciplines. The papers are set alongside first person commentary from many of the seminal voices involved, offering unprecedented access to experts' viewpoints. The works assembled also shed light on the process of science in general, showing how the shifting of wider perspectives allows for new ideas to take hold. Ideal for undergraduate and advanced students of ecology and conservation, their educators and those working across allied fields, this is the first book of its kind to focus on complexity-based approaches and provides a benchmark for future collected volumes.
Charles G. Curtin is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at the University of Montana. In addition to having helped found complexity-related programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other universities, he has over twenty years' experience designing and implementing ecology and conservation-related research projects using complexity-based approaches. Timothy F. H. Allen is Emeritus Professor of Botany and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A leading proponent of hierarchies and complex systems-based approaches to ecology, he has contributed to more than sixty peer reviewed articles and eight books.
Foreword; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Aggregation in complex systems; 2. Diversity in ecology and conservation; 3. The role of flows of energy and resources in structuring social and ecological systems; 4. Non-linearity in natural, social, and physical systems; 5. Applied implications and subversive science; Epilogue.