A Case Study about Management Perspective on Social Ecological Systems: A Generic System Model and its Application
Abstract: This paper suggests a framework for operationalizing the concept of a social-ecological system (SES), through a generic system model that can be applied to different situations and used as a management tool. Four functional subsystems are identified: natural (N), worldview (W), control / management (C) and technology (T). These encompass four orders of system complexity: physical, biological, social and semiotic. Emergent systems properties are conceptualized as arising through exchanges of matter and meaning between subsystems, and between the system as a whole and its environment (E). The second half of the paper draws on field work undertaken in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru, to illustrate how the generic model can be applied to the case of family farm systems in the reserve. The aim is to facilitate collaboration among specialists from a range of disciplines, and non-academics, working together to address social and environmental issues from a systems perspective.
Introduction : Societal and ecological problems facing the planet are both systemic problems and management problems. They are systemic because they arise from deep-rooted, complex, interrelated processes that operate across and between different scales from global to local. They cannot be understood by separating them out for analysis by single academic disciplines. They are management problems because their solution requires a sustained, coordinated and goal-driven response by policy makers: there are no quick fixes. This paper explores the potential of adopting a systems approach to address these challenges. We suggest that they can be usefully conceptualized as arising within social-ecological systems. As will become clear, the term ‘social-ecological system’ simply indicates a commitment to adopt a holistic, systemic perspective towards human and non-human elements of a problem situation of interest…read more on Management Perspective on Social Ecological Systems