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Urban EcologyPatterns, Processes, and Applications$
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Jari Niemelä, Jürgen H. Breuste, Thomas Elmqvist, Glenn Guntenspergen, Philip James, and Nancy E. McIntyre

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563562.001.0001

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Linking Social and Ecological Systems

Linking Social and Ecological Systems

Chapter:
(p.298) Chapter 5.5 Linking Social and Ecological Systems
Source:
Urban Ecology
Author(s):

Wayne C. Zipperer

Wayde F. Morse

Cassandra Johnson Gaither

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563562.003.0035

The reciprocal feedbacks between social and ecological patterns and processes define socio-ecological systems. In urban landscapes these systems can exhibit a high degree of complexity, be hierarchical, and vary by social and ecological context. To measure these interrelationships, this chapter proposes two field protocols — sense of place and land-cover analyses — to quantify feedbacks between social and ecological systems. Many current models of socio-ecological systems tend to be biocentric in focus, meaning that they emphasize the effect of social systems on ecological systems, but tend to simplify the effect of ecological systems on social systems. To account for the reciprocal interactions between social and ecological systems, this chapter proposes linking the concept of complex adaptive systems with structuration theory to create structuration of complex adaptive systems framework. The framework accounts for both social and ecological complex adaptive systems and links them at the point where human actions and landscape dynamics intersect. Through insights gained from how social and ecological dynamics can influence an individual’s decision on how best to manage one’s property in one time period, and monitoring how those decisions affect the social and ecological patterns and processes for the next period, we begin to gain an understanding of the tenets of sustainability.

Keywords:   socio-ecological systems, complex adaptive systems, structuration, sense of place

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