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Introduction: Understanding the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem

Introduction: Understanding the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem

(p.1) One Introduction: Understanding the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem
Serengeti III
Craig PackerStephen Polasky
University of Chicago Press

This third volume of the Serengeti series develops a fully integrated research program that includes socioeconomic research on human activities and human decision making, in concert with ecological research. The major goal is to begin to understand the complex feedback loops between natural and human components of the greater Serengeti ecosystem and how their disturbance propagates throughout the system. Serengeti III is principally the outcome of a series of workshops held at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in Santa Barbara, California, in 2001, 2002, and 2003. A secondary outcome of the workshops was the eventual award of an NSF grant on the Biocomplexity of the Serengeti, which in turn sponsored a workshop in the Serengeti National Park in 2004. The NCEAS workshops and the Biocomplexity grant produced a shared database and a related series of mathematical approaches to model the Greater Serengeti ecosystem, leading to this book. The book addresses two main questions. First, how can new insights from complex ecological systems help improve the management of the greater Serengeti ecosystem? Second, can our knowledge of the Serengeti enhance the understanding and conservation of other ecosystems?

Keywords:   Serengeti, ecosystem, ecological systems, conservation, socioeconomic research

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