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1 December 2010 Requisite Simplicities to Help Negotiate Complex Problems
Richard Stirzaker, Harry Biggs, Dirk Roux, Paul Cilliers
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Abstract

Decision makers responsible for natural resource management often complain that science delivers fragmented information that is not useful at the scale of implementation. We offer a way of negotiating complex problems by putting forward a requisite simplicity. A requisite simplicity attempts to discard some detail, while retaining conceptual clarity and scientific rigor, and helps us move to a new position where we can benefit from new knowledge. We illustrate the above using three case studies: elephant densities and vegetation change in a national park, the use of rules of thumb to support decision making in agriculture, and the management of salt in irrigation. We identify potential requisite simplicities that can allow us to generate new understanding, lead to action and provide opportunities for structured learning.

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2010
Richard Stirzaker, Harry Biggs, Dirk Roux, and Paul Cilliers "Requisite Simplicities to Help Negotiate Complex Problems," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 39(8), 600-607, (1 December 2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-010-0075-7
Received: 8 May 2009; Accepted: 15 April 2010; Published: 1 December 2010
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8 PAGES

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KEYWORDS
adaptive learning
complexity
Decision support models
Irrigation
Natural resource management
Reductionism
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