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Systems Ecology - Socio-Ecological Systems

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Published on Aug 15, 2016

A socio-ecological system consists of 'a bio-geo-physical' unit and its associated social actors and institutions. Socio-ecological systems are complex and adaptive and delimited by spatial or functional boundaries surrounding particular ecosystems and their problem context.

A socio-ecological system can be defined as:

A coherent system of biophysical and social factors that regularly interact in a resilient, sustained manner;

A system that is defined at several spatial, temporal, and organisational scales, which may be hierarchically linked;

A set of critical resources natural, socioeconomic, or cultural whose flow and use is regulated by a combination of ecological and social systems; and

A perpetually dynamic, complex system with continuous adaptation.

Scholars have used the concept of socio-ecological systems to emphasise the integrated concept of humans in nature and to stress that the delineation between social systems and ecological systems is artificial and arbitrary. Whilst resilience has somewhat different meaning in social and ecological context, the SES approach holds that social and ecological systems are linked through feedback mechanisms, and that both display resilience and complexity.

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