Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 527–557

Scale and Scaling in Ecological and Economic Systems


  • Jérôme Chave
    • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyPrinceton University
  • Simon Levin
    • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyPrinceton University

DOI: 10.1023/B:EARE.0000007348.42742.49

Cite this article as:
Chave, J. & Levin, S. Environ Resource Econ (2003) 26: 527. doi:10.1023/B:EARE.0000007348.42742.49


We review various aspects of the notion ofscale applied to natural systems, in particularcomplex adaptive systems. We argue that scalingissues are not only crucial from the standpointof basic science, but also in many appliedissues, and discuss tools for detecting anddealing with multiple scales, both spatial andtemporal. We also suggest that the techniquesof statistical mechanics, which have beensuccessful in describing many emergent patternsin physical systems, can also prove useful inthe study of complex adaptive systems.

criticalityecologyeconomyscalestatistical mechanics

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003