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Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems 2nd Edition

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1559638579
ISBN-10: 1559638575
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Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems + Resilience Practice: Building Capacity to Absorb Disturbance and Maintain Function + Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wonderful and stimulating blend of theoretical and empirical perspectives on multiscale dynamic systems of humans and nature. This book brings together the diverse insights of some of the most creative and original thinkers on resilience and adaptive change in ecological and social systems, yet it is seamlessly integrated through coherent underlying principles. A triumph for Holling's seminal concepts, and for the Resilience Alliance."
(Simon Levin Princeton University, author of Fragile Dominion)

"We denizens of the early twenty-first century have urgent need for an integrative theory that links changes in our global environment to underlying causes. Panarchy is the best presentation I've seen of the elements of such a theory, considering everything from ecosystems to political action. Anyone desiring a serious understanding of our global environment—and that should be all of us—will find no better starting point for their quest."
(John Holland Professor of computer science and engineering and Professor of psychology, University of Michigan)

"Resilience, timing, adaptation—these are the three pillars upon which the emergent properties of interacting systems rest. When the systems are the economy and the environment, understanding of the relationships among these concepts is crucial. This volume does a better job of explaining how to manage both money and nature to ensure humanity's long-term future than any other work I know of. Read and reflect."
(John L. Casti Santa Fe Institute, United States, and Technical University of Vienna, Austria)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 2 edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559638575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559638579
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On balance, Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale Systems (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Series) is the better book but this one is the thicker heavier more math-laden pretender--the problem is they have their own citation cabal, and while the bibliography is much broader and deeper than the above recommended book, there are too many gaps and an excessive reliance on obscure formulas that I have learned over time tend to be smoke for "I don't really know but if I did, this is the formula.

Also published in 2002, also with 20 contributors, this book lost me on the math. As someone who watched political science self-destruct in the 1970's when "comparative statistics" replaced field work, foreign language competency, and actual historical and cultural understanding, and a real-world intelligence professional, I'd listen to these folks, but I would never, ever let them actually manage the totality.

The book is the outcome of a three year effort, the Resilience Network as they called themselves, and there are some definite gems in this book, but it is a rough beginning. Among other things, it tries to model simplicity instead of complexity, and continue to miss the important of true cost transparency as the product and service end-user point of sale level, and real-time science that cannot be manipulated by any one country or organization (Exxon did NOT make $40 billion in profit this year--that is a fraction of the externalized costs, roughly $12 against the future for every $3 paid at the pump--that level of public intelligence in the public interest in missing from this book).
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the only book I know of which provides theoretical framework for sustainable development using integrated management of economic, ecological, and social systems. The theoretical frame work is based on hierarchy and complexity theories.
You do not want to miss reading and owning it. It belongs in the library of all future oriented executives, economists, ecologists, sociologists, business planners, and policy makers.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Martz on November 12, 2008
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While the book reviews interesting insights about the stability of ecosystems and emphasizes that most preconceptions are invalid in one or another circumstance, it pushes a preconception of its own that is so abstract as to be nearly meaningless. Phenomena are forced into phases of a model even when the fit is unreasonable. The book reads as though the editors fell in love with a nice idea - and a pretty diagram - and proceeded to ignore subtleties and refinements that, if incorporated, could have had real value. One significant flaw is that the wasteland of a devastated ecosystem, such as an overgrazed scrubland, is conceived as the 'same' ecosystem as the mature one (rainforest) that preceded it, and that a 'cycle' will bring it back around - and this in contradiction to the book's own opening chapter. Some redemption is achieved by authors of later chapters, who do not fall into these traps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DesertPete9 on March 11, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In an era of uncertainty about climate change and its economic, political, and institutional consequences, this book is like a breath of fresh air. In a series of scientific studies, the text illustrates how unexpected behavior of large ecological and economic systems leads to unanticipated results from man's attempts at manipulating them. As the back cover states, "Creating institutions to meet the challenge of sustainability is arguably the most important task confronting society." This book offers suggestions for doing just that, using methods from environmental systems analysis to illustrate the complexities involved in dealing with hierarchies of systems that range from biological subsystems through ecosystems and beyond, to social, political, and economic systems that transcend arbitrary boundaries set by those intent on maintaining outmoded fiefdoms. The logical conclusions are that we are a single people inhabiting a single planet, and the sooner we recognize that fact and modify our behavior accordingly, the sooner we will mitigate the many looming problems associated with natural resource exploitation; fossil fuel development, depletion, and pollution; industrialization of agriculture; and the increasing population that's driving it all.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I gave this book three stars because I felt that the editors were applying the kitchen-sink approach to this book and were trying to fit the theories of resiliency to encompass all political, cultural, and societal behavior as well as ecological processes. Much of the other material I've read about resiliency is strictly applied to ecology and I think that, by taking a broader approach, the editors of this volume dropped a large group that may have otherwise subscribed to the resiliency theories of sustainability.

With respect to ecological processes and sustainability, much of the initial material in this book deserves five stars. It's just when people who have backgrounds in aquatic ecosystems and economics start getting all sociological and psychological on me, they lose me as an audience member.
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