Coevolution in Complex Networks : An analysis of socio-natural interactions for wetlands management
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Coevolution between natural and social systems comprises interaction, reciprocal dynamics and reciprocal adaptation. The notion derives primarily from evolutionary biology, but also from the study of complex systems. This dissertation aims to: “develop the means to assess the effects of different human interventions on the future coevolution of interacting natural and social systems.” The method that I develop is termed ‘topological network analysis’, highlighting my focus on the topology – number and pattern of interactions – of complex networks. A socio-natural network integrates interactions within and between a natural and a social system. Topological network analysis simulates and compares the effect of different human interventions on the network’s topology. It comprises four steps: 1. construction of a reference socio-natural network capturing the current situation for a given region; 2. specification of alternative development paths for the region; 3. translation of these paths into change in the network; and 4. comparison of the alternative paths according to their estimate impacts on the robustness of the network and so the stability of the system . This last step leads to management insights. Topological network analysis is illustrated by considering conversion of a stand of mangroves in the Philippines. The dissertation focuses on human intervention into ecosystem and on the potential for subsequent biodiversity loss. Topological network may be best applied to decision problems or management issues involving differential effects on species’ survival.