Part of American Philosophies Forum Conference (April 3-5, 2014)
location: Stony Brook, Manhattan, New York
It is basically a truism to say that humans have always interacted with the biophysical environment. Only relatively recently, however, arguably at the beginning of the 21st Century, do we find a focused effort to develop systematic scientific methods to address the complex interactions between human systems such as agriculture, industry, and business, and natural systems such as the atmospheric, the biologic, and the hydrologic. One example is the National Science Foundation (NSF) “Biocomplexity in the Environment” Program launched in 1999 that evolved to include the Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems program. According to its 2001 Program Announcement, the NSF defined biocomplexity as “the dynamic web of often surprising interrelationships that arise when components of the global ecosystem–biological, physical, chemical, and the human dimension–interact” (NSF 2001).