Managing complex adaptive systems: a co-evolutionary perspective on natural research management

Rammel, Christian, Stagl, Sigrid and Wilfing, Harald (2007) Managing complex adaptive systems: a co-evolutionary perspective on natural research management. Ecological Economics, 63 (1). pp. 9-21. ISSN 0921-8009

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The overexploitation of natural resources and the increasing number of social conflicts following from their unsustainable use point to a wide gap between the objectives of sustainability and current resource management practices. One of the reasons for the difficulties to close this gap is that for evolving complex systems like natural and socio-economic systems, sustainability cannot be a static objective. Instead sustainable development is an open evolutionary process of improving the management of social–ecological systems, through better understanding and knowledge. Therefore, natural resource management systems need to be able to deal with different temporal, spatial and social scales, nested hierarchies, irreducible uncertainty, multidimensional interactions and emergent properties. The co-evolutionary perspective outlined in this paper serves as heuristic device to map the interactions settled in the networks between the resource base, social institutions and the behaviour of individual actors. For this purpose we draw on ideas from complex adaptive systems theory, evolutionary theory and evolutionary economics. Finally, we outline a research agenda for a co-evolutionary approach for natural resource management systems.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Sustainable development should not be a static objective, but subject to evolutionary change. This paper maps out a coevolutionary basis for sustainability that draws on interactions between the resource base, social institutions and individual behaviour. Dr Stagl¿s contribution lay especially in the impact of (co-)evolutionary economics and theory and work on sustainable development.
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Sigrid Stagl
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:28
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2012 14:29
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