Fig. 2. Consequences of mismatched temporal scales (indicated in red) between social and ecological systems. For example, some ecological problems, such as the management of long-lived and slowly reproducing species like redwood trees, baobabs, whales, and elephants, require consistent, long-term policies that may be difficult to achieve over time horizons of 50 yr in western democracies. In contrast, it may take time for large bureaucracies and cumbersome organizations to face up to and deal with rapid ecological changes that demand immediate management action, such as the sudden introduction of an invasive species.