Emergent patterns in nature and society

When to adapt or when to transform? Using network controllability to assess how manageable are regime shifts

When should we try to adapt or give up and go for transformations? These are non-trivial questions for managers. Indeed, how manageable is your system? Recent theoretical developments on network science suggest that there is fundamental principles that allow us to detect which components of a system need to be observed and manipulated in order to gain control of its dynamics. Although such findings have been tested for a variety of networks such as Internet, social networks or ecological food webs; it reminds to be seen if such theory is applicable to large-scale social-ecological processes. Here I review how manageable are regime shifts by applying network controllability to a set of regime shifts causal networks: a network map of the feedback mechanisms and causal pathways that undermine regime shifts dynamics. I present preliminary results and discuss opportunities and challenges of this area of research into the practice of ecosystem management in the face of surprise.

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