This book is a collection of cutting-edge and cross-disciplinary studies on natural, human-made, and coupled human-natural systems, addressing the challenge of developing integrated knowledge from multiple disciplines. The authors explore the structure, function, and dynamic mechanisms of various systems, both natural and human-made, as well as analyze their reciprocal interactions under the concept of “coupled human-natural systems.” These interactions are used to understand feedback, nonlinearities, thresholds, time lags, legacy effects, and path dependencies, emerging across multiple spatial, temporal, and organizational scales. In other words, this book is a collection of advanced research on unique properties of natural and human-made systems, as well as human-environment dynamics, reciprocal relationships, and cross-scale interactions.
The authors outline prospects on building a holistic view of social development and coherent sustainability. Among the topics covered are the following: human networks research; adaptation of local people to social and environmental challenges; coupled dynamics of socioeconomic and environmental systems; critical issues in social science climate change research; education for greater sustainability; peace, justice, and strong institutions; advances in cultural traditions and strategies for social stability; innovative development and barriers to sustainable development; economic systems in the age of digital changes and unstable external environments. The scholars analyze how more effective technologies can enhance resilience, reduce vulnerability, and minimize human impacts on natural systems, taking into consideration critical thresholds to prevent harmful feedback to human systems.
The authors grasp the complexity of systems by integrating knowledge of constituent subsystems and their interactions. The framework developed by the authors is used to integrate human and natural systems for achieving greater sustainability, covering critical threats, challenges, and best governance approaches and practices. The research results obtained from studies on coupled human-natural systems are stronger, the authors argue, if compared with traditional (discipline) approaches.