Modelling ecological systems in a changing world. Evans, M. R. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 367(1586):181--190, January, 2012.
Modelling ecological systems in a changing world [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. In such a situation, we need to understand the nature of the change and to make predictions about the way in which it might affect systems of interest; often we may also wish to understand what might be done to mitigate the predicted effects. In ecology, we usually make such predictions (or forecasts) by making use of mathematical models that describe the system and projecting them into the future, under changed conditions. Approaches emphasizing the desirability of simple models with analytical tractability and those that use assumed causal relationships derived statistically from data currently dominate ecological modelling. Although such models are excellent at describing the way in which a system has behaved, they are poor at predicting its future state, especially in novel conditions. In order to address questions about the impact of environmental change, and to understand what, if any, action might be taken to ameliorate it, ecologists need to develop the ability to project models into novel, future conditions. This will require the development of models based on understanding the processes that result in a system behaving the way it does, rather than relying on a description of the system, as a whole, remaining valid indefinitely.
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    author = {Evans, Matthew R.},
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    doi = {10.1098/rstb.2011.0172},
    issn = {1471-2970},
    journal = {Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences},
    keywords = {climate-change, ecology, emergent-property, environmental-modelling, extrapolation-error, forest-resources, modelling, system-of-systems},
    month = jan,
    number = {1586},
    pages = {181--190},
    pmcid = {PMC3223798},
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    posted-at = {2013-11-11 05:04:11},
    priority = {2},
    title = {Modelling ecological systems in a changing world},
    url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0172},
    volume = {367},
    year = {2012}
}
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