Perspectives for the Study of the Galapagos Islands: Complex Systems and Human–Environment Interactions

  • Stephen J. WalshEmail author
  • Carlos F. Mena
Part of the Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands book series (SESGI, volume 1)


Complexity theory and complex adaptive systems offer a theoretical framework to examine dynamic and coupled natural–human systems within a policy-relevant context. We advocate an Island Biocomplexity perspective that encompasses the coevolution and adaptive resilience of island ecosystems with a new island ecology that incorporates human impacts in coupled natural–human systems. Agent-based models (ABMs), as implementation tools, are described as an approach to examine “what-if” scenarios of change of linked social–ecological systems that involve heterogeneous agents (i.e., individuals and households), a dynamic environment, and exogenous forces and endogenous factors that combine in complex ways to alter social, terrestrial, and marine subsystems in the Galapagos Islands. Despite the fact that most of the new ABM advances are still experimental with few practical applications and few are being used in policy making, these frameworks offer a new way to understand the local interactions and regional patterns within the Galapagos Islands.


Invasive Species Aerial Photography Galapagos Island Household Livelihood Tourism Market 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Center for Galapagos Studies, Galapagos Science CenterUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.College of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Galapagos Science CenterUniversity of San FranciscoQuitoEcuador

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