Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Environ Syst Decis (2016) 36:225–228 DOI 10.1007/s10669-016-9605-6


Copyright by te Authors 2016. This article is published with open access at


Environmental sciences have an important role in informing sustainable management of built environments by providing insights about the drivers and potentially negative impacts of global environmental change. Here, we discuss panarchy theory, a multi-scale hierarchical concept that accounts for the dynamism of complex socio-ecological systems, especially for those systems with strong cross-scale feedbacks. The idea of panarchy underlies much of system resilience, focusing on how systems respond to known and unknown threats. Panarchy theory can provide a framework for qualitative and quantitative research and application in the environmental sciences, which can in turn inform the ongoing efforts in sociotechnical resilience thinking and adaptive and transformative approaches to management