Complex systems science

Tuesday 9th October 2007

What was the event?

Complex Systems Science studies the features of self-organisation and emergence that are the key marks of complex systems and has come about with the realisation that general rules and universal principles govern the behaviour of complex systems as diverse as living organisms and national economies.

This talk teased out some of these rules and asked how they can help us understand the emergence of complex structure from local interaction and why conventional approaches to mathematical modelling of natural phenomena cannot easily cope with such concepts. Examples from the Australian Rangelands and ancient Mesopotamia illustrated alternative approaches based on the theory of networks and Agent-based Modelling.

This talk attempted to show how the common language of complex system science has enabled integration of science and humanities and suggested valuable lessons that we can draw from it.

Like many other organisations today, the Forestry Commission is realising that its activities are deeply enmeshed in the society in which it operates and that understanding the interaction of Forestry and Society is key to the sustainability and resilience of its operations. To reach this understanding we need to acknowledge that the Forestry Commission and its environment form a ‘Complex Adaptive System’. 

The talk was given by John Finnigan of CSIRO Centre for Complex System Science.

Who was the event suitable for?

Researchers, academics and policymakers

Where did the event take place?

Forest Research
Northern Research Station
Midlothian EH25 9SY


For further information please contact:

Elspeth Macdonald
Centre for Forest Resources and Management
Forest Research
Forestry Commission
Fodderty Way
Dingwall, Ross-shire
IV15 9XB

Tel: +44 (0)1349 862144
Fax: +44 (0)1349 866624