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Drivers, "Slow" Variables, "Fast" Variables, Shocks, and Resilience

Walker, B. H., S. R. Carpenter, J. Rockstrom, A.-S. Crépin, and G. D. Peterson. Ecology and Society (2012) 17(3): 30.


Different uses of the terms "drivers," "variables," and "shocks" cause confusion in the literature and in discussions on the dynamics of ecosystems and social–ecological systems. Three main sources of confusion are unclear definition of the system, unclear definition of the role of people, and confusion between variables and drivers. As a contribution to resolving some of the confusion, we offer one interpretation of how the terms might be used

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Keywords: drivers, fast variables, resilience, shocks, slow variables, social–ecological systems

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