FRST 411/532c: Complex Adaptive Systems, Global Change Science and Ecological Sustainability

Course Description

Using the scientific literature, students will explore the main concepts of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), view a range of systems through the lens of CAS theory, and discusses how CAS can be used to manage natural and social environments for multiple goals. Specific goals that will be examined are Global Change and Environmental Sustainability.

FRST411&532c syllabus and Course Outline


Dr. Suzanne, Simard (suzanne.simard<at>

Teaching Assistants: TBA

Recommended Readings:

Readings will be assigned at each lecture. The readings will be selected from the current scientific literature and the following books:

  • Chapin, III, F. Stuart, Kofinas, Gary, P., and Folke, Carl (Editors). 2009. Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship Resilience-Based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World. New York: Springer. 409 pp. (ISBN 978-0-387-73032-5 paper).
  • Pagel, Mark. 2013. Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 416 pp. ISBN-10: 0393344207
  • Messier, Christian, Klaus J. Puettmann, and K. David Coates. 2013. Managing Forests as Complex Adaptive Systems: Building Resilience to the Challenge of Global Change. Earthscan: Routledge. 368 pp. ISBN: 9780415519779.
  • Westely, Frances, Zimmerman, Brenda, and Patton, Michael. 2007. Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed. Vintage Canada Edition. 272 pp. ISBN-10: 067931444X.

Recommended Textbooks:

  • Johnson, Neil. 2007. Simply Complexity: A Clear Guide to Complexity Theory. Oxford: Oneworld Publications.
  • Puettmann, Klaus J., K. David Coates, and Christian Messier. 2009. A Critique of Silviculture: Managing for Complexity. Washington DC: Island Press


Class Participation (20%)

Group Project (35%)

Short assignment (15%)

Final paper (30%)

Meeting Time / Place:

Fall term, 2015

Monday, 15:00-17:00, FSC 1611

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