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Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems
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Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The book examines theories (models) of how systems (those of humans, nature, and combined humannatural systems) function, and attempts to understand those theories and how they can help researchers develop effective institutions and policies for environmental management. The fundamental question this book asks is whether or not it is possible to get beyond seeing environme ...more
Paperback, 536 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Island Press
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Kangning Huang
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: directed-reading
Panarchies and the Network of Human Settlements

Panarchy describes a cycle of a complex system where it first grows (r), then becomes conservative (K), eventually collapses (W), and reorganizes (a) to grow again in another period. During this cycle, the system’s two properties, connectedness and potential, change simultaneously as it shift from one phrase to another. This periodic process have been found in both ecological and social systems. Using the conceptual framework of panarchy (Gunderson
Art Goodtimes
Jun 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I heard co-author Gunderson speak at the Quivira Coalition meeting in Albuquerque and I was sold on this concept of panarchy and dynamic systems theory. Not a quick read, but a deep one, and the insights apply everywhere.
Gordon Eldridge
Mar 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book is somewhat unique in its attempt to bridge different disciplines. It examines the connections between ecology, sociology and economics related to the concepts of resilience and sustainability. It is primarily about the explication of a particular theory - the theory of panarchy, which basically posits ideas about how connections across different scales ( both in time and space) affect resilience. While there are moments where the reading is tough if you do not have a background in all ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars: The premise of panarchy, that a nested set of adaptive cycles (that aggregate resources and periodically restructure systems in response to change) are arranged as a dynamic hierarchy in space and time, for social, economic, political, and environmental systems is presented. The book attempts to integrate the novel theories of complexity, emergence, and chaos with more practical disciplines (ecology, social science, economics) in an attempt to shift the dominant paradigm from single s ...more
Jason Pitre
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the pre-eminent books in my academic library, one of the highest quality both within ecology and countless other fields. Each chapters is presented by different authors, meaning that there is a bit of variablity in terms of tone and skill in writing. The basic framework of adaptive cycles is presented, with a few chapters devoted to pointing out the limitations of the theory. This is followed by case studies which illustrate the potential uses of the theory in economics, ecology a ...more
Brian Napoletano
Jan 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reference
Every time I start reading this book, I get angry and put it down. My advisor is a huge fan of Panarchy Theory, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. I could be wrong on this, but it seems to me that Robert May's statement, "Too often, an 'emergent phenomenon' means little more than 'I've no clue what is going on, but it looks kind of interesting'", describes the foundation of Panarchy Theory rather well. Even my lab-mates shudder at the mention of Panarchy. ...more
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