• Home
  • » Complexity Theory

Complexity Theory

Complexity science provides a strong theoretical foundation on which to assess the sustainability of social-ecological systems.  Social-ecological systems describe real world situations where people and the environment interact -  through agricultural crop production, marine and freshwater fishing, groundwater pumping, river flood defence, conservation etc.  Some social-ecological systems are sufficiently small and contained to make them easy to observe, such as some rural communities that depend entirely on subsistence crops grown in the local area.  Other social-ecological systems, such as the world's mega-cities, where the resource and commodity chains are long and intercontinental, can only be observed through a global lens. Different theories and conceptual frameworks have been developed to better understand complex social-ecological system dynamics.  Here we summarise the key elements and the challenges presented in their application to real world situations.

Click on the circles to find out more.

Resilience Theory Emergence and Self-Organization Thresholds and Tipping Points Transient Dynamics Early warning signals Connectivity