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.