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Sustainability 2012, 4(3), 384-393;

Dynamics of Change in Human-Driven and Natural Systems: Fast Forward, Slow Motion, Same Movie? A Case Study from Plant Protection

INRA, UMR1349, Institute for Genetics, Environment and Plant Protection (IGEPP), Centre de Rennes, Domaine de la Motte, BP 35327, F-35653 Le Rheu Cedex, France
Received: 3 January 2012 / Revised: 23 February 2012 / Accepted: 5 March 2012 / Published: 14 March 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation or Extinction)
Full-Text   |   PDF [176 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


Evolutionary biology and evolutionary ecology deal with change in species and ecosystems over time, and propose mechanisms to explain and predict these. In particular, they look for generic elements that will drive any organism or phylum to adaptive changes or to extinction. This paper, using examples from the field of plant protection against pests and diseases, shows that the patterns of change observed in natural and in human-driven systems are comparable, and proposes that their similarities result from the same mechanisms operating at different paces. Human-driven systems can thus be seen simply as ‘fast-forward’ versions of natural systems, making them tractable tools to test and predict elements from evolutionary theory. Conversely, the convergence between natural and human-driven systems opens opportunities for a more widespread use of evolutionary theory when analyzing and optimizing any human-driven system, or predicting its adaptability to changing conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: evolution; selection; punctuated equilibria; complexity evolution; selection; punctuated equilibria; complexity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Andrivon, D. Dynamics of Change in Human-Driven and Natural Systems: Fast Forward, Slow Motion, Same Movie? A Case Study from Plant Protection. Sustainability 2012, 4, 384-393.

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