, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 527-557

Scale and Scaling in Ecological and Economic Systems

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Abstract

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.