SS 5
Managing the World’s Forests as Complex Adaptive Systems - Sustainable Pathways for a Changing World

Monday, August 5, 2013: 10:15 AM-11:30 AM
101C, Minneapolis Convention Center
Christian Messier
Klaus J. Puettmann and Meredith W. Cornett
The session will explore two main questions: 1) What do we gain by using complexity science as a framework for understanding the function of seemingly disparate forest ecosystems around the world?; and 2) How can we apply emerging forest management and restoration practices to the problem of creating and maintaining complexity in the world’s forests? The session will consist of up to 6 presenters and will address the two questions for different forest biomes (e.g., tropical, boreal, and temperate), management applications, and social and economic dimensions of complex adaptive systems. Topic organization will parallel that of our recent book, Managing Forests as Complex Adaptive Systems: Building Resilience to the Challenge of Global Change (Routledge 2013), including a summary of primary lessons and insights at the end of the session. The first presenters will make the case that complexity and complex adaptive systems constitute a compelling framework for understanding forest ecosystems. The second set of presenters will take on management topics in complexity specific to different regions, such as restoration in the Great Lakes region of North America, management of boreal forests, plantation management, and close-to-nature forestry in Europe. We will conclude the session with a discussion about the diverse approaches to forest management suggested by complexity science. We highlight the advantages of managing for complex adaptive systems, rather than focusing on selected forest condition, as targets in developing pathways toward sustaining forest goods and services ranging from timber production to carbon storage, water quality, and biodiversity.
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