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The New EcologyRethinking a Science for the Anthropocene$
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Oswald J. Schmitz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160566

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160566.001.0001

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Socio-ecological Systems Thinking

Socio-ecological Systems Thinking

(p.106) Chapter 5 Socio-ecological Systems Thinking
The New Ecology

Oswald J. Schmitz

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how humans and nature can become increasingly entwined as a socio-ecological system. Northern cod stocks were once so plentiful in the waters off eastern Canada and northern New England. Five centuries later, the commercial northern cod fishery would collapse in dramatic fashion. To understand how the changes happened, the chapter divides the history of the northern cod fishery into four major periods of human engagement that began in 1500 and lasted until 1990. It also considers the development of new computational tools that have led to new principles that can help ecologists anticipate state changes in complex ecosystems and thereby better guide human engagement with nature's economy. Finally, it explains how the New Ecology can help us better understand the nested hierarchy and mechanisms of the inner workings of socio-ecological systems and the nonlinear responses that arise when they are disturbed or exploited.

Keywords:   humans, nature, cod fishery, ecosystems, New Ecology, socio-ecological systems

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