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Complexity, Modeling, and Natural Resource Management

Authors: Cilliers, P. et alii. (for the Resilience Alliance)
Publication date: 2013, In: Ecology and Society 18 (3): 1

This paper contends that natural resource management (NRM) issues are, by their very nature, complex and that both scientists and managers in this broad field will benefit from a theoretical understanding of complex systems. It starts off by presenting the core features of a view of complexity that not only deals with the limits to our understanding, but also points toward a responsible and motivating position.

Two pairs of case studies are discussed, which look at the human societal and management organizational responses to complex issues and illustrate the need for the varied use of the five key principles described in the article. The first contrast is between catchments, and the second one compares the way omplexity is perceived or not perceived, set up with two very different agents, one whose main task is to promote conservation of nature, and one whose main objective is to mine.