GEOG030 Chapter 4 Notes.docx

3 Pages
Unlock Document

GEOG 030
Petra Tschakert

Chapter 4 - Ecosystems and Social Systems as ComplexAdaptive Systems • Ecosystems and social systems are complex adaptive systems o complex b/c they have many parts and many connections between the parts o adaptive b/c their feedback structure gives them the ability to change in ways that promote survival in a fluctuating environment • emergent properties: the distinctive features and behavior that ‘emerge’ from the way that complex adaptive systems are organized o Self-organization. o Stability domains. o Complex system cycles • Biological systems have a hierarchy of organizational levels that extends from molecules and cells to individual organisms, populations and ecosystems. o emergent properties- characteristic behaviors which emerge at that level; function synergistically at each level of organization to give that level a life of its own which is greater than the sum of its parts  Because the parts are interconnected, the behavior of every part is shaped by feedback loops through the rest of the system.  Positive and negative feedback promotes growth and change in the system as a whole. • Emergent properties are easiest to perceive in individual organisms. o Ex. With jellyfish - basic emergent properties = growth, development of different tissues and organs, homeostasis, reproduction and death. o Richness of expression of emergent properties increases with the complexity of the organism  Ex. Vision and the perception of color are emergent images o Emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, hate, happiness and love are also emergent properties. o Examples of emergent properties at the population level of organization= The sigmoid curve for population growth, population regulation, genetic evolution and social organization • The food supply for each species depends on o the ecosystem’s biological production o the amount of the ecosystem’s biological production that the food web channels to that particular species • Emergent property of ecosystems and social systems = counterintuitive behavior o Counterintuitive behavior - the opposite of what we expect  Ex. construction of public housing in the United States during the decades after World War II • Was supposed to reduce poverty by providing decent housing to low-income families that they could afford ▯ people to move to cities even if their weren’t jobs ▯ public houses where turned into ghettos of poverty  Ex. Forest managers trying to reduce fire damage by putting out fires, but the result was even more damage o Ecosystems and social systems are sometimes counterintuitive b/c they are not easily understood by people whose main existence is at a different level of organization - the level of an individual inside the ecosystem and social system.  Explains why we can’t predict ultimate consequences of our actions • Emergent Properties of Social Systems o Distortion of information  Ex. Telephone game o Denial – refusal to recognize or accept the truth when it conflicts with existing beliefs  ex. Blaming small-scale peasant farmers for deforestation even though they usually use resources in a good way  ex. 1950s and 2960s – ecologists warned public about the impending dangers of population growth and environmental ruin… people denied it through decades and many environmental disasters o ex. of emergent properties in human social systems through bureaucracies:  not effective in dealing with unusual situations  often do things contrary to their mission for the sake of survival Self-Assembly • Ecosystems organize themselves by means of an assembly process resembling natural selection. • Biological community- all the plants, animals, and microorganisms living in an ecosystem o Can be joined by new species if their births exceed deaths (while their population is small) • Community assembly- process selecting species from a larger pool of species living in the surround
More Less

Related notes for GEOG 030

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.