A Framework for Understanding Change

  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
  • Carl Folke
  • Gary P. Kofinas


The world is undergoing unprecedented changes in many of the factors that determine both its fundamental properties and their influence on society. Throughout human history, people have interacted with and shaped ecosystems for social and economic development (Turner et al. 1990, Redman 1999, Jackson 2001, Diamond 2005). During the last 50 years, however, human activities have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than at any comparable period of human history (Steffen et al. 2004, Foley et al. 2005, MEA 2005d; Plate 1).


Ecosystem Service West Nile Virus Adaptive Capacity Regime Shift Path Dependence 
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Additional Readings

  1. Berkes, F., J. Colding, and C. Folke, editors. 2003. Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Carpenter, S.R., and M.G. Turner. 2000. Hares and tortoises: Interactions of fast and slow variables in ecosystems. Ecosystems 3:495–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chapin, F.S., III, A.L. Lovecraft, E.S. Zavaleta, J. Nelson, M.D. Robards, et al. 2006. Policy strategies to address sustainability of Alaskan boreal forests in response to a directionally changing climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:16637–16643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Folke, C. 2006. Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analysis. Global Environmental Change 16:253–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gunderson, L.H., and C.S. Holling, editors. 2002. Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. Island Press, Washington.Google Scholar
  6. Levin, S.A. 1999. Fragile Dominion: Complexity and the Commons. Perseus Books, Reading, MA.Google Scholar
  7. MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). 2005d. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington.Google Scholar
  8. Steffen, W.L., A. Sanderson, P.D. Tyson, J. Jäger, and P.A. Matson, editors. 2004. Global Change and the Earth System: A Planet Under Pressure. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Turner, B.L., II, R.E. Kasperson, P.A. Matson, J.J. McCarthy, R.W. Corell, et al. 2003. A framework for vulnerability analysis in sustainability science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100:8074–8079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Walker, B.H., C.S. Holling, S.R. Carpenter, and A.P. Kinzig. 2004. Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9(2):5 [online] URL:
  11. Walker, B.H., and D. Salt. 2006. Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World. Island Press, Washington.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Stuart ChapinIII
    • 1
  • Carl Folke
  • Gary P. Kofinas
  1. 1.Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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