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The Ecosystem Approach: Complexity, Uncertainty, and Managing for Sustainability

David Waltner-Toews, James J. Kay, and Nina-Marie E. Lister

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Paper, 408 pages, 6 halftones, 43 line drawings, 33 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-13251-0
$50.00 / £34.50

August, 2008
Cloth, 408 pages, 6 halftones, 43 line drawings, 33 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-13250-3
$150.00 / £103.50

Is sustainable development a workable solution for today's environmental problems? Is it scientifically defensible? Best known for applying ecological theory to the engineering problems of everyday life, the late scholar James J. Kay was a leader in the study of social and ecological complexity and the thermodynamics of ecosystems. Drawing from his immensely important work, as well as the research of his students and colleagues, The Ecosystem Approach is a guide to the aspects of complex systems theories relevant to social-ecological management.

Advancing a methodology that is rooted in good theory and practice, this book features case studies conducted in the Arctic and Africa, in Canada and Kathmandu, and in the Peruvian Amazon, Chesapeake Bay, and Chennai, India. Applying a systems approach to concrete environmental issues, this volume is geared toward scientists, engineers, and sustainable development scholars and practitioners who are attuned to the ideas of the Resilience Alliance-an international group of scientists who take a more holistic view of ecology and environmental problem-solving. Chapters cover the origins and rebirth of the ecosystem approach in ecology; the bridging of science and values; the challenge of governance in complex systems; systemic and participatory approaches to management; and the place for cultural diversity in the quest for global sustainability.


About the Author

David Waltner-Toews is a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph. With James Kay, Michelle Boyle, and David Cressman, he cofounded the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health. He was also founding president of Veterinarians without Borders/Vétérinaires sans Frontières-Canada. James J. Kay (1955-2004) was associate professor in environment and resource studies at the University of Waterloo, where he also held cross-appointments in systems design engineering and urban planning. Nina-Marie E. Lister is a registered professional planner and associate professor in urban and regional planning at Ryerson University in Toronto.David Waltner-Toews is a Professor in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph. He was trained both as a biologist and a veterinarian. He is the founder of the organization Veterinarians Without Borders. James J. Kay was Professor of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. He is internationally known for applying ideas from thermodynamics to ecological systems. Nina-Marie E. Lister is Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto.

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