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Columbia University Press
The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing for Sustainability

The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing for Sustainability

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Is sustainable development a workable solution for today's environmental problems? Is it scientifically defensible? Best known for applying ecological theory to the engineering problems of everyday life, the late scholar James J. Kay was a leader in the study of social and ecological complexity and the thermodynamics of ecosystems. Drawing from his immensely important work, as well as the research of his students and colleagues, The Ecosystem Approach is a guide to the aspects of complex systems theories relevant to social-ecological management.

Advancing a methodology that is rooted in good theory and practice, this book features case studies conducted in the Arctic and Africa, in Canada and Kathmandu, and in the Peruvian Amazon, Chesapeake Bay, and Chennai, India. Applying a systems approach to concrete environmental issues, this volume is geared toward scientists, engineers, and sustainable development scholars and practitioners who are attuned to the ideas of the Resilience Alliance-an international group of scientists who take a more holistic view of ecology and environmental problem-solving. Chapters cover the origins and rebirth of the ecosystem approach in ecology; the bridging of science and values; the challenge of governance in complex systems; systemic and participatory approaches to management; and the place for cultural diversity in the quest for global sustainability.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231132510
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 08/11/2008
Series: Complexity in Ecological Systems
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Waltner-Toews is a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph. With James Kay, Michelle Boyle, and David Cressman, he cofounded the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health. He was also founding president of Veterinarians without Borders/Vétérinaires sans Frontières-Canada.

James J. Kay (1955-2004) was associate professor in environment and resource studies at the University of Waterloo, where he also held cross-appointments in systems design engineering and urban planning.

Nina-Marie E. Lister is a registered professional planner and associate professor in urban and regional planning at Ryerson University in Toronto.
David Waltner-Toews is a Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph. He was trained both as a biologist and a veterinarian. He is the founder of the organization Veterinarians Without Borders.James J. Kay was Professor of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. He is internationally known for applying ideas from thermodynamics to ecological systems.Nina-Marie E. Lister is Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto.

Table of Contents

Preface, by David Waltner-Toews, Nina-Marie E. Lister, and Stephen Bocking
Part I. Some Theoretical Bases for a New Ecosystem Approach
1. An Introduction to Systems Thinking, by James Kay
2. Framing the Situation: Developing a System Description, by James Kay
3. Scale and Type: a Requirement for Addressing Complexity with Dynamical Quality, by Tim Allen
4. Self-Organizing, Holarchic, Open Systems (SOHOs), by Michelle Boyle and James Kay
5. So What Changes? Implications of Complexity for an Ecosystem Approach to Management, by James Kay
6. Bridging Science and Values: The Challenge of Biodiversity, by Nina-Marie E. Lister
7. The Cultural Basis for an Ecosystem Approach, by Fikret Berkes and Iain Davidson-Hunt
8. A Family of Origin for an Ecosystem Approach to Managing for Sustainability, by Martin Bunch, Dan McCarthy, and David Waltner-Toews
Part II. Case Studies: Learning by Doing
9. Linking Hard and Soft Systems in Local Development, by Reg Noble, Ricardo Ramirez, and Clive Lightfoot
10. Human Activity and the Ecosystem Approach: The Contribution of Soft Systems Methodology to Managing the Cooum River in Chennai India, by Martin Bunch
11. Landscape Perspectives on Agroecosystem Health in the Great Lakes Basin, by Dominique Charron and David Waltner-Toews
12. An Agroecosystem Health Case Study in the Central Highlands of Kenya, by Thomas Gitau, David Waltner-Toews, and John McDermott
13. Food, Floods, and Farming: An Ecosystem Approach to Human Health on the Peruvian Amazon Frontier, by Tamsyn P. Murray, David Waltner-Toews, José Sanchez-Choy, and Felix Sanchez-Zavala
Part III. Managing for Sustainability: Meeting the Challenges
14. Implementing an Ecosystem Approach: The Diamond, AMESH, and Their Siblings, by David Waltner-Toews and James Kay
15. Return to Kathmandu: A Post-Hoc Application of AMESH, by R. Cynthia Neudoerffer, David Waltner-Toews, and James J. Kay
16. Tools for Learning: Monitoring and Indicator Development, by Michelle Boyle and James Kay
Part IV. Where to from Here? AcknowledgmentsSolutions Some Challenges for a New Science in an Uncertain World
17. Beyond Complex Systems—Emergent Complexity and Social Solidarity, by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerry Ravetz
18. Third World Inequity, Critical Political Economy, and the Ecosystem Approach, by Ernesto F. Ráez-Luna
19. An Ecosystem Approach for Sustaining Ecological Integrity—but Which Ecological Integrity?, by David Manuel-Navarrete, Dan Dolderman, and James J. Kay
20. The Water or the Wave? Toward an Ecosystem Approach for Cross-Cultural Dialogue on the Whanganui River, New Zealand, by Charlotte Helen Šunde
A Tribute to James Kay, by David Waltner-Toews et al.
Appendix: Hierarchy and Holonocracy, by Henry Regier

What People are Saying About This

Dean Bavington

The Ecosystem Approach will help to shape the paradigm shift away from single species, reductionist approaches and toward a variety of holistic, ecosystem approaches that recast science from a Newtonian into a complexity mode. A solid contribution to the scholarly and teaching literature in ecology and environmental sciences.

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