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The Structure and Dynamics of Human EcosystemsToward a Model for Understanding and Action$
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William R Burch, Gary E Machlis, and Jo Ellen Force

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300137033

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300137033.001.0001

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Using the Model for Science during Crisis

Using the Model for Science during Crisis

(p.133) Eight Using the Model for Science during Crisis
The Structure and Dynamics of Human Ecosystems

William R. Burch Jr.

Gary E. Machlis

Jo Ellen Force

Yale University Press

This chapter illustrates how the application of the Human Ecosystem Model (HEM) has recently been extended to include science-based assessments during major environmental crises. The model has been used as a scenario-building tool during both the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010) in the Gulf of Mexico and Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast of the United States (2012). These extraordinary events—one originating in failures within the social system (government, technology, and industry, for example) and one originating in a historical natural event—offer robust tests of how the HEM can be used to improve decision-making, resource management, and policy. The chapter shows why the HEM was used in the scenario-building sessions: it includes both biophysical and socioeconomic elements, is explicit regarding flows, and has an emerging record of application.

Keywords:   Human Ecosystem Model, environmental crises, scenario-building, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Hurricane Sandy, social system, natural event

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