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Sustainable Development of the Boreal Forest: Interaction of Ecological, Social, and Business Feedbacks

F. Stuart Chapin, University of Alaska
Gail Whiteman, Queen's University

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Abstract

Humans are an integral component of ecosystems, just as the products of ecosystems are critical to social systems. To understand the future state of the boreal forest, we must understand the ecological, social, economic, and business interactions that link ecological and social systems into a common regional system, as well as the feedbacks that govern changes in these interactions. We analyze the negative feedbacks that promoted a sustainable interaction between ecological and social systems prior to the development of business systems, which are dominated by positive feedbacks that have reduced the sustainability of the boreal system. We suggest a minimum set of interactions that are required to improve the sustainability of a business-based boreal system.

Key words

boreal forest, business, consumerism, ecosystem, feedback, social system, sustainability.
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087