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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 31 December 2015
This book is somewhat unique in its attempt to bridge different disciplines. It examines the connections between ecology, sociology and economics related to the concepts of resilience and sustainability. It is primarily about the explication of a particular theory - the theory of panarchy, which basically posits ideas about how connections across different scales ( both in time and space) affect resilience. While there are moments where the reading is tough if you do not have a background in all three disciplines ( the mathematical models were particularly tough for me), the book is still more than worth persevering with. For me, it was one of those rare books which totally changed the way I think about how the world works. It deepened my understanding of what makes ecosystems ( and social and economic systems) resilient and exposed for me a number of misconceptions I had held all my life up to this point.

It is difficult to work in such a transdisciplinary way and occasionally the connections between the three disciplines could be tighter. This does not detract at all from the overall development of idea, however. It is also difficult to establish coherence in a book where chapters are contributed by a variety of authors. This is achieve superbly in this volume, however. It is obvious that the authors of each chapter are familiar with the content of the other chapters, and for the most part the book reads as if it were written by a single author, with the development of ideas across the various chapters being relatively seamless.

I will definitely return to this book, and having read it, I plan to go on and read other books by the researchers in the Resilience Alliance network of researchers.
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on 4 April 2009
This is an edited collection of articles that captures an overview of the work of the Resilience Alliance: an informal network of researchers from many disciplines, all with a common interest in the environment and "sustainability". There is a good consistent style across all chapters, and very careful editorial control to make sure the book is coherent, with comprehensive coverage of the network's work.
An important aspect of the work reported in this book is that it is grounded in extensive (in terms of both breadth and depth) empirical studies of real social-ecological systems. This makes it far more valuable in my mind than most of the more theoretical work on complex adaptive systems, and self organised criticality.
Although my interest in this book was to support my research, I must say that I also found it one of the most important books I have read in terms of helping me reflect on what it means to live on this beautiful but potentially fragile planet in the 21st Century.
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