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Soil and Water Conservation Society
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This chapter introduces landscape systems and why they are effective as a framework for understanding multiple systems across various scales. Landscape systems are helpful when observing the interconnections between actions and consequences in a complex adaptive system (CAS). A few main themes of landscape systems are adaptive management, open participatory communication among multiple stakeholders, the reinvestment of knowledge, innovation, and transformation. There is an interrelation between all factors in a CAS, but it can be difficult to see the effects different factors have on others. In order to bring a sense of organization, landscape systems are used to classify different scales or levels. These are field, farm enterprise, community watershed, ecosystems, and governance or policy. This classification helps to categorize different contributing factors, which can help explain the consequence of an action in a CAS and how it affects different levels in the system. Learning about these effects and considering macro-system factors helps guide development by targeting a project at the appropriate level. A landscape systems approach can allow for innovation and improvement through the use of adaptive management.