Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nature Is Better At Balancing Complex Systems Than We Are

"When Removing One Predator Harms the Prey" - New York Times: By HENRY FOUNTAIN Published: December 11, 2007

This article makes a good point regarding thinking about long term impact and the complexity of interrelated systems.

"The predator-prey relationship is simple, right? If a predator is around, that is bad for the prey, and if the predator is removed, that is good for the prey."

"Ecological theory, however, suggests that isn’t always the case, particularly if there is more than one predator species around and they share the same prey. In that case, elimination of the top predator may allow the midlevel predator to thrive, and a result may actually be worse for the prey."

The New England Complex Systems Institute, which is one of the web pages saved under and other tagging systems, has a fascinating visualization of a related system model. You will need Quicktime. Spatial Predator-Prey Models and the Evolution of Altruism. The use of such systems will, to my mind, undoubtedly increase, both as a means of understanding challenges in the future as well as overcoming those challenges and mitigating the impacts.

The New England Complex Systems Institute was featured in a previous post and placed under Paradigm Pathways Science Pathways. The researchers had created a mathematical model - based purely on the geographic distribution of ethnic groups - that provided a highly accurate prediction of where violent conflict would occur regarding Inter-ethnic violence using the same rules for prediction that govern chemicals.

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