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1 December 2007 Coupled Human and Natural Systems
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Abstract

Humans have continuously interacted with natural systems, resulting in the formation and development of coupled human and natural systems (CHANS). Recent studies reveal the complexity of organizational, spatial, and temporal couplings of CHANS. These couplings have evolved from direct to more indirect interactions, from adjacent to more distant linkages, from local to global scales, and from simple to complex patterns and processes. Untangling complexities, such as reciprocal effects and emergent properties, can lead to novel scientific discoveries and is essential to developing effective policies for ecological and socioeconomic sustainability. Opportunities for truly integrating various disciplines are emerging to address fundamental questions about CHANS and meet society's unprecedented challenges.

Received: 19 December 2006; Accepted: 1 April 2007; Published: 1 December 2007
JOURNAL ARTICLE
11 PAGES

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