Systems thinking - language of complexity for scientists and managers

Bosch, Ockie, Maani, Kambiz and Smith, Carl (2007). Systems thinking - language of complexity for scientists and managers. In: Steve Harrison, Annerine Bosch and John Herbohn, Improving the Triple Bottom Line Returns from Small-scale Forestry, Proceedings from an International Conference. Improving the Triple Bottom Line Returns from Small-scale Forestry, Ormoc, the Philippines, (57-66). 18 - 21 June 2007.

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Author Bosch, Ockie
Maani, Kambiz
Smith, Carl
Title of paper Systems thinking - language of complexity for scientists and managers
Conference name Improving the Triple Bottom Line Returns from Small-scale Forestry
Conference location Ormoc, the Philippines
Conference dates 18 - 21 June 2007
Proceedings title Improving the Triple Bottom Line Returns from Small-scale Forestry, Proceedings from an International Conference
Place of Publication Gatton, Qld, Australia
Publisher The University of Queensland
Publication Year 2007
Sub-type Fully published paper
Editor Steve Harrison
Annerine Bosch
John Herbohn
Volume 1
Start page 57
End page 66
Total pages 10
Collection year 2007
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Land managers are regularly faced with the prospect of having to anticipate the consequences of their actions, and avoid unintended consequences, without comprehensive information about the system surrounding their management activities, for a number of reasons. First, natural systems are complex and while information may be available to assist managers in decision-making, it is often uncertain. Second, relevant information is often fragmented and scattered throughout scientific publications, reports, databases and in the heads of experienced people, making it difficult for managers to utilise. Third, people can have divergent views about management because pieces of information often relate to different management objectives (e.g. conservation vs. production) and different people hold different opinions about how management systems operate. This uncertain, fragmented and conflicting picture of natural resource management can result in managers continually dealing with symptoms rather than the underlying causes of management problems. Thus, there is a need to integrate information surrounding land management issues in a systematic way. This paper provides an insight into how systems thinking can be used as a mechanism for developing an understanding of the issues under consideration. It briefly explores the requirements for dealing with complex systems and demonstrates the application of three examples of Systems Thinking tools to help achieve some of the desired outcomes toward sustainability. The paper concludes by highlighting the need for a paradigm shift (a new way of thinking about the world and relationships). For this, Systems Thinking not only offers a language for understanding complexity and dynamic change, but also provides sophisticated and unsophisticated modelling technology and associated collaborative learning environments.
Subjects 300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences
0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
Keyword Land management
Systems thinking
Information systems
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Created: Fri, 31 Aug 2007, 00:01:39 EST by Annerine Bosch on behalf of Faculty Of Nat Resources, Agric & Veterinary Sc