Teaching Landscape Systems
Landscape systems surround us, are tightly linked to human wellbeing, and are under increasing pressure, which makes understanding their abilities to function in the face of stressors and change essential. This seminar will overview continuing efforts to develop coursework for landscape system assessment across UNL departments.
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[00:00:00.810]The following presentation
[00:00:02.260]is part of the Agronomy and Horticulture Seminar Series
[00:00:05.850]at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
[00:00:09.040]My name's Caleb Roberts.
[00:00:10.740]I'm the Assistant Unit Leader
[00:00:12.530]at the Arkansas Cooperative Fish
[00:00:14.040]and Wildlife Research Unit, a USGS employee.
[00:00:17.410]And I was a former Post-Doc
[00:00:20.090]and student at Nebraska
[00:00:22.550]and the agronomy department.
[00:00:24.140]And I'm happy to introduce Dr. Dan Uden today.
[00:00:29.060]Who's speaking about teaching landscape systems.
[00:00:31.640]Dan Uden is a Nebraska native
[00:00:35.660]and he got his BA Concordia
[00:00:37.530]and his master's and PhD at Lincoln
[00:00:39.820]and a UNL and Ecology
[00:00:42.820]and he has published many papers.
[00:00:45.810]For instance, one that I've cited a million times
[00:00:47.770]is in journal of applied ecology.
[00:00:50.490]Quantifying spatial resilience
[00:00:52.010]is passed that hundred citation mark.
[00:00:55.770]We're excited to hear his talk today
[00:00:57.340]and with that we'll take it
[00:00:58.467]but Dan take it away.
[00:01:01.773]Well, thank you Caleb
[00:01:02.770]and thanks very much to all of you
[00:01:06.140]joining me on a beautiful Friday afternoon
[00:01:10.070]if you're here in Nebraska.
[00:01:12.610]I'm very honored to be here
[00:01:14.540]to be part of the Seminar Series
[00:01:17.430]and to be sharing some of my ongoing efforts
[00:01:23.850]around the development of my teaching program.
[00:01:26.509]And really, I hope not not just sharing about it
[00:01:29.180]but also continuing to make connections
[00:01:32.850]and to learn from,
[00:01:34.320]and even perhaps strategize
[00:01:36.880]with many of you around it, moving forward.
[00:01:40.440]And along those lines
[00:01:42.930]that the title of the talk
[00:01:46.090]you see on the slide is Teaching landscape Systems.
[00:01:50.350]But it just as easily could have been learning
[00:01:54.440]to teach landscape systems
[00:01:55.920]or strategizing about teaching landscape systems
[00:02:00.200]or finding my niche in teaching landscape systems
[00:02:04.070]because I very much view this as an ongoing process
[00:02:09.080]and work in progress.
[00:02:14.990]In this position I taught my first course
[00:02:17.910]during the January three week session a few months ago
[00:02:23.160]that was a undergraduate level course
[00:02:25.010]called Resilience Thinking in Landscape Systems.
[00:02:27.940]And that was brand new something I developed.
[00:02:32.160]Then right now I'm in the middle of my second one
[00:02:34.860]which is great Plains ecosystems.
[00:02:37.140]Of course, I've inherited for a few years
[00:02:39.530]and that's 400/800-level.
[00:02:41.850]And then in the fall 2021 semester
[00:02:44.320]I'm looking forward to graduate Level Landscape Ecology.
[00:02:49.350]So that's, what's on the, you know kind of the docket
[00:02:54.610]for right now.
[00:02:55.934]And as I work on rolling these classes
[00:02:58.380]out the first time during the day to day
[00:03:01.340]I find myself very much concerned
[00:03:04.330]with getting the next thing done,
[00:03:05.910]getting the next lecture recorded
[00:03:08.040]or the next assignment or activity designed.
[00:03:11.990]But I'm also trying to be very intentional about
[00:03:15.890]thinking about and strategizing
[00:03:18.060]and having conversations about the long-term.
[00:03:22.626]And so I think in this talk today
[00:03:25.010]you'll probably see elements of both of that.
[00:03:27.496]And I hope that's something I can continue
[00:03:32.730]to do going forward.
[00:03:33.900]So this is, you know, a great way
[00:03:36.380]to continue that growth, I think,
[00:03:38.984]but before I get any deeper into that process
[00:03:44.720]I want to step back
[00:03:46.581]and give a few highlights broad scale about myself
[00:03:52.410]and my position and my work.
[00:03:55.580]So who am I, and what do I do
[00:03:58.890]and what do I want to do,
[00:04:01.100]where do I want to contribute
[00:04:02.780]and or hope to contribute and to accomplish.
[00:04:06.710]So, as I think Caleb mentioned,
[00:04:10.000]I'm an Assistant Professor
[00:04:11.680]in my title is Resilience Spatial Scientist.
[00:04:15.990]And my position is shared between two departments.
[00:04:18.930]I'm in the school of natural resources
[00:04:21.990]and the department of agronomy and horticulture
[00:04:24.600]with SNR being the primary.
[00:04:27.030]And on the SNR side,
[00:04:28.170]I'm nested within the the applied climate
[00:04:31.520]and spatial sciences program area.
[00:04:34.330]And then on the Ag-Hort side
[00:04:35.830]I'm in the range and forges group.
[00:04:38.760]And then addition to those two departments,
[00:04:42.060]I'm also, my position is affiliated
[00:04:44.130]with UNL new center for resilience
[00:04:47.790]in agricultural working landscapes.
[00:04:50.150]And then I'm also increasingly involved
[00:04:52.250]with the center for grasslands studies.
[00:04:54.520]So as I move forward in this position
[00:04:58.200]and think about teaching
[00:05:00.040]and think about research, whatever it is.
[00:05:01.980]I'm always trying to center myself
[00:05:04.420]on that cross departmental mission and cross centers.
[00:05:08.590]And so that's just a little bit about me
[00:05:13.260]and my position background.
[00:05:15.620]And as far as, as what I do,
[00:05:17.270]what does it mean to be a spatial
[00:05:20.210]or resilient spatial scientist?
[00:05:22.570]Well, it means that I study
[00:05:26.220]and I teach about systems very broadly,
[00:05:28.790]but more specifically about landscape systems.
[00:05:32.320]And I do that through the lens of spatial science
[00:05:36.070]as well as systems thinking and resilience thinking.
[00:05:39.370]So we're thinking about landscape systems
[00:05:42.430]and how they're able to
[00:05:44.710]or not able to maintain their functionality
[00:05:47.710]their essential structures and functions
[00:05:50.080]when they experienced shocks
[00:05:51.830]or change or other forms of disturbance.
[00:05:55.780]And so I do that as I mentioned
[00:05:58.176]through the lens of spatial science.
[00:05:59.900]So work has been very in my training
[00:06:03.100]very heavy on remote sensing and GIS
[00:06:05.560]and statistics and spatial modeling
[00:06:07.770]and that sort of thing.
[00:06:08.960]So in my lab, my students
[00:06:11.900]and I are working on projects like some of the,
[00:06:15.030]what you see in this side
[00:06:16.010]where we're linking a state-of-the-art land cover data
[00:06:20.180]with geospatial cloud computing
[00:06:22.510]and resilience inspired metrics
[00:06:26.300]that we've developed to detect and track,
[00:06:30.570]and really provide early warning
[00:06:32.270]for transitions in range on vegetation
[00:06:37.030]throughout the Western US.
[00:06:38.060]And we're doing this at a variety of scales
[00:06:40.990]and in a variety of locations.
[00:06:45.050]And on the teaching side,
[00:06:47.660]things are distilled down a little bit more
[00:06:49.700]to the fundamental concepts and ideas,
[00:06:51.970]and in thinking about landscapes as systems
[00:06:56.340]and as complex systems, really
[00:06:58.480]and about identifying sources
[00:07:01.240]of complexity in those landscape systems.
[00:07:04.340]Whether that be positive
[00:07:05.740]or negative feedbacks interactions
[00:07:08.700]against different variables, external forcings,
[00:07:11.340]these types of things,
[00:07:12.320]they all influence the trajectory
[00:07:15.010]and ultimately resilience of these complex systems,
[00:07:18.470]these landscape systems.
[00:07:22.151]And so I'm working on that in my teaching,
[00:07:24.740]but I'm also, I'm taking on existing courses
[00:07:28.880]like I mentioned, as well as what I'll call dormant courses
[00:07:32.670]courses that are have been taught
[00:07:35.120]but haven't taught for awhile
[00:07:36.170]and I'm developing new courses
[00:07:38.150]really around these ideas
[00:07:40.490]about system thinking in landscape systems.
[00:07:47.860]So that's then a little bit about what I do
[00:07:53.970]as a resilience, spatial scientist,
[00:07:57.060]but as far as what I want to do with that,
[00:08:00.610]where do I hope to contribute
[00:08:03.260]and what do I hope to contribute broadly.
[00:08:05.940]That's a lot of it.
[00:08:06.773]I want to contribute.
[00:08:07.760]I want to contribute to efforts
[00:08:12.120]to solve complex challenges
[00:08:14.740]and grand challenges and landscape systems.
[00:08:17.570]And to do that through the land grant mission
[00:08:21.020]and the mission of the university
[00:08:23.470]and the mission of the departments, I'm part of
[00:08:26.470]where you see their mission statements here.
[00:08:29.630]So that's all very kind of high level stuff,
[00:08:32.480]especially from this perspective of that I have
[00:08:35.390]where I'm just starting out on this journey.
[00:08:39.620]That's where I hope to go
[00:08:40.850]and what I hope to do.
[00:08:43.540]But in the rest of the talk
[00:08:45.350]I'm really going to get a little bit more concrete
[00:08:48.760]about teaching and about teaching,
[00:08:52.130]about landscape systems.
[00:08:53.917]I'm gonna try address issues
[00:08:57.150]like what the potential utility
[00:08:59.570]or contributions of a systems approach is
[00:09:03.250]when thinking about landscapes.
[00:09:05.020]So, why systems thinking, why do it?
[00:09:08.170]And then going to look at opportunities
[00:09:13.190]that I see for linking what I'm doing
[00:09:17.760]and linking that pursuit
[00:09:18.930]to specific student learning outcomes
[00:09:21.580]and content learning outcomes
[00:09:23.760]within the Ag-Hort department in particular,
[00:09:27.180]and especially related to the new plant
[00:09:31.690]and landscape systems major.
[00:09:33.600]And I'm gonna provide a couple of examples
[00:09:36.710]of how I've done that,
[00:09:39.110]or how I'm doing that
[00:09:40.260]or would like to do that in my courses so far
[00:09:44.420]how we're integrating systems,
[00:09:46.220]thinking and systems approaches there,
[00:09:47.940]whether it's looking at at ecological systems
[00:09:51.660]or you know more of a social ecological systems
[00:09:55.590]or even economic systems in some cases.
[00:09:57.760]And then finally
[00:09:58.700]I think that is a big piece that I'm interested in
[00:10:01.540]and this is where the future discussion comes in
[00:10:03.240]is thinking about future opportunities
[00:10:07.830]How I can fit in to what's already being done?
[00:10:12.310]How can I build on that?
[00:10:14.450]That's something I'm continually asking.
[00:10:17.150]And then how can I bridge
[00:10:18.640]to what comes later for students
[00:10:20.850]whether it's future coursework, career, whatever?
[00:10:25.730]But before I do any of that,
[00:10:28.130]I think we need to back up
[00:10:29.900]and talk about definitions a little bit
[00:10:31.830]because I've been throwing around a lot of terminology
[00:10:35.300]and might even call it jargon words
[00:10:39.640]like landscapes and systems and resilience.
[00:10:43.130]And I'm have very specific definitions
[00:10:45.880]of each of those things,
[00:10:46.713]but those things can mean different things
[00:10:49.420]to different people
[00:10:50.610]and even to different disciplines
[00:10:52.410]in different departments.
[00:10:53.820]So I think it's good to give an overview
[00:10:57.850]as I do students in my courses,
[00:11:00.390]a very foundational look at.
[00:11:02.310]What do I mean when I say things like landscape systems?
[00:11:07.770]And so hopefully that's an area
[00:11:09.420]that can be productive as well.
[00:11:11.100]I know I've had conversations with folks
[00:11:14.940]who use the word landscape a lot
[00:11:16.890]like Kim Todd here in the department.
[00:11:18.750]And she's been so kind to me as someone who,
[00:11:22.760]doesn't just necessarily use the word landscape
[00:11:25.130]in the landscaping sense.
[00:11:26.920]But I think there are a lot of connections to be made.
[00:11:30.210]The same is true on the systems side.
[00:11:33.340]And that's actually where I'll start
[00:11:34.970]very fundamentally, foundationally.
[00:11:37.590]What is a system?
[00:11:40.990]Well, in the most fundamental sense,
[00:11:42.950]a system is a collection of parts or components
[00:11:46.880]that are interacting
[00:11:48.480]and interdependent on one another.
[00:11:50.800]And through these interactions and interdependency
[00:11:53.520]they come together to form a broader whole
[00:11:56.130]and that's the system
[00:11:56.963]we could think of individual ants,
[00:11:59.120]forming in a colony.
[00:12:00.160]We could think of an ecological system being a system
[00:12:04.670]a group of interacting organisms
[00:12:07.060]and their environment
[00:12:08.890]as we see here on this slide.
[00:12:11.770]But I think when we need and we can
[00:12:15.070]and we need to get a little more specific
[00:12:17.320]when we use the word systems,
[00:12:19.120]because there are a lot of different types of systems
[00:12:22.780]And when I talk about ecosystems, for example
[00:12:25.660]what I'm really talking about is a complex system.
[00:12:30.340]And there are complex systems
[00:12:32.787]and some even differentiate this out further
[00:12:36.110]to complex adaptive systems.
[00:12:38.370]But when we're talking about complex systems
[00:12:40.320]we're talking about systems,
[00:12:41.580]a special class of systems
[00:12:43.500]that display hallmarks of complexity.
[00:12:46.700]So a lot of complexity science places
[00:12:48.950]like the Santa Fe Institute
[00:12:50.710]and historically important work on complexity of systems
[00:12:55.330]and some classic examples of complex systems
[00:12:59.110]are social insect colonies
[00:13:01.890]like ant colonies,
[00:13:04.210]the human brain markets,
[00:13:07.230]these are all complex systems
[00:13:09.886]they exhibit hallmarks of complexity.
[00:13:13.630]And so when we think about complex systems
[00:13:16.180]and I'll be arguing really
[00:13:17.570]that landscape systems are complex systems.
[00:13:20.460]When we start thinking about complex systems
[00:13:22.100]we start asking questions about,
[00:13:26.180]how the components of that system work together
[00:13:30.230]to produce complex behavior.
[00:13:31.920]For example, how do ants
[00:13:34.590]which are on their own individually
[00:13:36.330]they're only capable of sending
[00:13:38.350]and receiving a few signals
[00:13:40.060]maybe at the most up to 15 or 20 signals?
[00:13:43.060]But an entomologist can correct me on that.
[00:13:46.350]But there are relatively few signals.
[00:13:48.906]How do those interactions among individual ants
[00:13:53.420]give rise to this larger complex behavior of the colony?
[00:13:58.680]Where they're doing things like patrolling
[00:14:01.930]their borders and working in the nursery
[00:14:04.930]and collecting food,
[00:14:06.000]and even doing things like building bridges
[00:14:08.480]with their bodies,
[00:14:09.313]that the rest of the colony can move across
[00:14:12.430]or fire ants building rafts with their bodies
[00:14:15.180]and floating in the water,
[00:14:17.360]that sort of behavior.
[00:14:19.160]How how does that complexity emerge
[00:14:22.260]from those simple interactions?
[00:14:25.110]The same question applies to brain activity.
[00:14:28.510]How does a firing of synapses give rise to the complex
[00:14:33.660]and creative behavior we see in the human brain
[00:14:39.080]or how does the buying
[00:14:40.290]and selling of stock shares produce this market system
[00:14:45.440]that even complex algorithms
[00:14:48.020]are incapable of fully predicting or understanding?
[00:14:52.740]These are the sort of questions
[00:14:54.010]we start to ask when we think about complex systems
[00:14:57.103]and as I'll get to in a little bit
[00:14:59.880]landscape systems actually contain all these things.
[00:15:02.397]And in many cases,
[00:15:03.480]they contain lots of human brains
[00:15:05.910]making decisions about markets
[00:15:07.790]and in various species interacting with one another.
[00:15:10.770]And so there's a lot of complexity
[00:15:12.660]in landscape systems at various scales.
[00:15:17.587]But to get a little bit more explicit
[00:15:21.160]about complex systems
[00:15:23.217]and what sort of things we should expect
[00:15:26.310]from complex systems.
[00:15:27.810]There are a long list of characteristics,
[00:15:30.280]or hallmarks of complexity.
[00:15:32.560]Some people call them
[00:15:34.410]that we should expect things like hierarchical structure
[00:15:37.540]and in feedback loops
[00:15:38.970]whether those be positive or negative.
[00:15:41.080]And emergent behaviors where
[00:15:43.230]we say the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
[00:15:46.360]is kind of the same that goes along with that.
[00:15:48.750]Thresholds in these systems
[00:15:50.330]where at some point along an important system, variable
[00:15:53.320]a system crosses a point due to a feedback
[00:15:55.580]or some other region where it flips
[00:15:57.770]to an alternative state.
[00:15:59.200]And so complex systems can alternate
[00:16:01.490]between alternative States with different structures
[00:16:04.590]and functions and feedbacks
[00:16:06.730]that govern that behavior.
[00:16:09.060]And so all these things give rise to complexity
[00:16:13.060]and in complex systems.
[00:16:14.190]And we don't have time to talk about them all here
[00:16:17.280]but I do wanna go over a few.
[00:16:19.570]And the first of those is hierarchical structure.
[00:16:23.311]And we can start thinking about
[00:16:25.530]how we see these things in landscape systems
[00:16:28.350]because that's where we're eventually headed here.
[00:16:30.580]But we gave the example of the ant colony
[00:16:34.790]and the ant colony being a system
[00:16:36.650]that's comprised of components of interacting
[00:16:39.850]and interdependent ants.
[00:16:41.900]And, but when we talk about hierarchical structure
[00:16:46.330]we're talking about the fact that systems
[00:16:48.150]are nested within systems
[00:16:49.470]that are nested within systems.
[00:16:51.170]So at one level of the hierarchy
[00:16:53.110]is the individual ant
[00:16:54.780]and it's a system in itself.
[00:16:57.790]It contains, made up of interacting
[00:17:00.200]and interdependent Oregon's
[00:17:01.500]like we see the ant brain here in the lower left.
[00:17:04.910]But then as you move up
[00:17:07.070]the system of the aunt itself becomes a component
[00:17:10.480]in the system of the colony.
[00:17:12.360]And then of course there are various ant colonies
[00:17:15.260]and other species plants
[00:17:18.090]and organisms interacting with one another
[00:17:20.630]in what makeup the ecosystem
[00:17:22.720]in this case, a prairie ecosystem.
[00:17:26.300]And we see this sort of similar hierarchical structuring
[00:17:29.820]and all sorts of systems,
[00:17:31.240]whether those be social systems
[00:17:33.010]or economic systems or whatever.
[00:17:37.210]But that's something
[00:17:38.370]if we think we have a complex system on our hands
[00:17:40.870]that's something we should expect from it.
[00:17:43.680]Similarly, and very important
[00:17:44.683]and something I like to focus on quite a bit
[00:17:48.570]in my courses is feedbacks.
[00:17:50.440]Complex systems, exhibit feedbacks.
[00:17:53.100]And feedback is in the basic sense
[00:17:57.990]where some change in a variable
[00:18:00.090]in this case variable A
[00:18:01.690]that causes that has an effect on variable B
[00:18:05.510]and that change in variable B
[00:18:08.600]that was experienced as a result of the change in A
[00:18:11.410]somehow circles back to affect A again.
[00:18:14.690]And so you have this reciprocal relationship here
[00:18:18.510]and we can have both negative
[00:18:21.320]and positive feedbacks and systems
[00:18:23.380]and they're both important in different ways.
[00:18:26.610]You can have a negative
[00:18:29.270]or dampening also known as stabilizing feedbacks,
[00:18:32.940]where in this case a change in say an increase in A
[00:18:37.230]causes an increase in B
[00:18:38.660]which circles back to actually decrease A.
[00:18:41.370]So that's why it's stabilizing
[00:18:43.490]because it kind of balances itself out.
[00:18:45.597]And often negative feedbacks
[00:18:48.010]tend to keep systems closer to equilibrium,
[00:18:52.650]tend to keep them in balance.
[00:18:53.930]On the other hand, positive feedbacks
[00:18:55.970]they're also often known as amplifying
[00:18:57.870]or destabilizing feedbacks.
[00:18:59.830]This is more of the runaway train vicious cycle effect
[00:19:03.630]where an increase in variable C
[00:19:06.320]increases D which increases C
[00:19:08.520]and so on and so forth until, some sort of limit
[00:19:12.270]is imposed or another feedback
[00:19:14.030]mediates this increase
[00:19:15.740]or runs out of space of it's a species or whatever.
[00:19:19.810]But the positive feedbacks
[00:19:21.710]tend to often push systems away from equilibrium.
[00:19:27.840]And so this is you can see some complexity emerge
[00:19:33.460]as a result of feedbacks.
[00:19:36.270]If we talk about a landscape system
[00:19:37.770]that I'm more familiar with
[00:19:39.320]in my research and background
[00:19:40.990]that would be ecological systems
[00:19:42.700]and rangelands systems.
[00:19:44.550]And so you could have an example
[00:19:47.610]of a negative feedback
[00:19:48.870]in the tall grass prairie ecosystem
[00:19:51.270]which surrounds us here in Lincoln.
[00:19:53.740]But this image is a grazing bison
[00:19:58.250]in the tall grass prairie.
[00:19:59.630]It's from Allen Knapp and company down at Kansas State
[00:20:03.420]and in Manhattan, Kansas
[00:20:05.700]And what you have going on
[00:20:06.810]in the tall grass prairie here is a tendency
[00:20:09.160]for several grass species to dominate
[00:20:14.560]in the tall grass prairie.
[00:20:15.670]Especially oftentimes if there's fire
[00:20:19.020]but if there's not grazing these
[00:20:20.780]they often call them the big four grasses
[00:20:22.940]Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem,
[00:20:24.970]Switchgrass, Indian grass.
[00:20:26.670]They become the dominant species
[00:20:28.370]and especially certain species like Big Bluestem.
[00:20:32.620]Often you almost get a monoculture
[00:20:38.240]bison in the system,
[00:20:40.500]they favor these grasses.
[00:20:42.200]They selectively graze on them.
[00:20:43.900]So if you have an increase in these grasses
[00:20:46.570]it can be met with increase grazing pressure from bison
[00:20:50.330]which actually then kind of dampens
[00:20:53.380]that the dominance of that grass,
[00:20:56.050]and it opens up space in the prairie
[00:20:58.770]or other less competitive species,
[00:21:02.080]Forbes, Wildflowers, that sort of thing.
[00:21:03.910]So in this way, you know
[00:21:05.460]the bison grazing in the system
[00:21:10.660]in the the species composition.
[00:21:13.490]And this relationship
[00:21:16.620]gets even a little bit more complex
[00:21:18.190]when you introduce fire into the system
[00:21:20.600]because it turns out
[00:21:21.810]that where bison Grey's influence
[00:21:24.460]where the fire burns
[00:21:26.280]and you get a lot of complexity
[00:21:28.500]that emerges from that as well.
[00:21:30.250]But we're gonna talk a little bit more
[00:21:31.780]about that sort of feedback.
[00:21:33.570]We talk about pattern, process,
[00:21:36.180]feedbacks and landscape systems.
[00:21:37.750]But that's just one example
[00:21:39.870]of a negative feedback in a landscape system,
[00:21:42.670]one that I'm familiar with.
[00:21:45.030]You can also have positive feedbacks
[00:21:46.810]and positive feedbacks
[00:21:49.191]in the tall grass prairie system.
[00:21:51.627]And this could happen
[00:21:52.730]through encroachment of shrubs
[00:21:55.110]maybe eastern redcedar trees,
[00:21:58.190]various other shrubs.
[00:21:59.180]But you have a positive feedback
[00:22:02.370]and I just described it a bit ago
[00:22:05.240]where a part of it a bit ago
[00:22:07.220]where you have increased grass biomass
[00:22:12.810]in the system
[00:22:13.643]and that is fuel for fire,
[00:22:16.310]which can result in an increase in fire frequency.
[00:22:20.510]And so you have this well-known
[00:22:22.320]well-documented relationship between fire and grass.
[00:22:26.010]And this is something we know that
[00:22:28.200]where we tend to have frequent fire,
[00:22:30.540]where also grass follows the fire,
[00:22:32.450]especially in systems like the Great Plains.
[00:22:35.630]And they have in this diagram of this positive feedback
[00:22:39.120]they actually have it all being decreases,
[00:22:40.850]but that's just, that's fine.
[00:22:42.980]The point is that all the signs
[00:22:45.440]are in the same direction.
[00:22:47.070]So in this system,
[00:22:48.410]you have a decrease in biomass
[00:22:50.540]due to a variety of external factors,
[00:22:54.330]which means less fuel for fire,
[00:22:57.770]which means less fire
[00:22:59.270]and that what this does then
[00:23:01.500]is less fire means more shrubs.
[00:23:05.630]And eventually you cross a threshold in this system
[00:23:09.390]where the system flips from one
[00:23:11.690]where it's no longer really being governed
[00:23:14.240]by this feedback between grass and fuel and fire
[00:23:19.600]and the systems structures change
[00:23:22.550]and its functions change,
[00:23:23.610]and its feedbacks are different
[00:23:24.970]and it flips to an alternative state.
[00:23:27.140]So that's also kind of bringing in
[00:23:28.470]some of that complex system behavior
[00:23:30.750]about how a feedback,
[00:23:33.470]in this case a positive one
[00:23:36.270]can push a system across a threshold
[00:23:39.757]and into an alternative state.
[00:23:42.730]Just another example of a complexity.
[00:23:45.340]And when we, I mentioned this a bit before,
[00:23:47.570]but we often talk about emergent behavior
[00:23:51.210]and complex systems and self-organization.
[00:23:56.374]And the quote that is often used to pull greater
[00:23:59.880]than the sum of the parts
[00:24:00.960]due to things like feedbacks and thresholds.
[00:24:04.030]You can have simple interactions
[00:24:06.010]between components that give rise
[00:24:07.960]to complexity at the system level.
[00:24:13.080]And so that's something that we keep in mind
[00:24:17.130]when we think about landscape systems
[00:24:19.937]and that really takes us.
[00:24:21.270]So that was systems and complex systems.
[00:24:24.070]And so when I'm talking about systems
[00:24:27.640]thinking in my courses,
[00:24:28.740]I'm also often talking about complex systems,
[00:24:32.543]and looking for feedbacks
[00:24:33.970]looking thresholds for emergent properties
[00:24:36.700]in these complex systems of the world.
[00:24:39.050]But that really still leaves the second half
[00:24:42.200]of landscape systems, the landscape part.
[00:24:44.960]And this is another great question.
[00:24:48.530]Is what is a landscape?
[00:24:51.700]Is a landscape a garden?
[00:24:53.800]Is a landscape a range land, or a crop land
[00:24:58.500]or even a city, or maybe a wetland complex?
[00:25:01.830]These are landscapes here in Nebraska
[00:25:05.120]that we see all around us.
[00:25:07.590]And I would argue that these are all landscapes.
[00:25:12.120]I have a very, I guess, broad definition of landscape.
[00:25:17.310]any heterogeneous area of interest.
[00:25:19.650]So it contains some sort of variability
[00:25:24.332]and you of course see that in these images
[00:25:27.720]whether it's species composition or typography,
[00:25:31.400]or the bare ground and vegetated ground.
[00:25:36.820]All these sorts of things are our heterogeneity
[00:25:38.980]in these landscapes systems.
[00:25:40.680]But I will add and this is another important thing
[00:25:43.230]that scale is very important to talk about
[00:25:48.220]when you're talking about landscapes.
[00:25:51.870]And I would argue that
[00:25:54.780]there is no correct scale
[00:25:57.260]at which to view a landscape.
[00:25:58.427]And in fact, the multi-scale perspective
[00:26:02.850]is often what enhances our understanding of landscapes
[00:26:07.030]and landscape systems.
[00:26:08.710]To give an example of what I'm talking about
[00:26:10.780]there a little bit, I have four images here
[00:26:14.770]and they're all of the same location
[00:26:16.360]but they're taking it dress scales.
[00:26:19.090]I like to show this to students to illustrate this.
[00:26:21.450]These are actually photos from out at Mead
[00:26:24.310]at the East Nebraska Research and Extension Center there.
[00:26:27.190]This is from a few years back,
[00:26:28.700]Rob Mitchell was showing me around
[00:26:30.160]some of the switchgrass bioenergy plots there.
[00:26:33.702]And within one of these plots and lower left
[00:26:37.180]you see an individual partridge pea plant.
[00:26:40.740]And on that you can of course see the crab spider.
[00:26:44.820]I'm not sure which species
[00:26:45.763]and I'm not sure which species of bee that is either,
[00:26:48.930]but there's a crab spider preying on a bee.
[00:26:54.140]And from the perspective of this crab spider
[00:26:57.270]that individual partridge pea plant
[00:27:00.040]really could qualify as a landscape
[00:27:01.890]because that's where he spends most of its life probably.
[00:27:06.060]And there's heterogeneity.
[00:27:07.410]There's all sorts of structure there to interact with
[00:27:10.695]and for where it can interact with other species too.
[00:27:14.540]But if we take a step further out to more,
[00:27:16.890]we would in ecology called the plot scale,
[00:27:20.400]or maybe the patch
[00:27:21.770]we can see partridge pea flowers blooming there
[00:27:24.550]but we can also see...
[00:27:25.430]I see mayor's tail and I see switchgrass.
[00:27:28.380]And so you have heterogeneity
[00:27:31.570]in the form of plant species composition there
[00:27:37.410]And if we go further out to,
[00:27:39.980]I'm trained as a landscape ecologist.
[00:27:41.890]So when we get to the third and fourth images
[00:27:44.180]those are what I'm used to looking at.
[00:27:46.730]When I say landscapes
[00:27:48.280]we can see some aerial imagery,
[00:27:51.420]probably NAIP imagery
[00:27:53.040]where you can see all those switchgrass plots
[00:27:56.120]lined up next to one another,
[00:27:58.200]and they're surrounded and maybe a field,
[00:28:00.270]maybe that's a surrounding
[00:28:01.570]kind of a another switchgrass field or something.
[00:28:04.000]And then finally in the upper, right
[00:28:05.990]we get all sorts of heterogeneity in land cover.
[00:28:09.740]We have crops, we have developed areas.
[00:28:13.090]We have, you know, they're building sites in there
[00:28:15.810]and it looks like small grains
[00:28:17.490]and corn soybean and center pivot irrigation.
[00:28:21.900]And so, these are all really of the same location
[00:28:26.170]but just at different scales.
[00:28:27.610]And I would argue that when you talk about landscape
[00:28:30.820]that can mean just about anything,
[00:28:32.280]but it's important to talk about the scale
[00:28:34.850]or scales that you're viewing the system at.
[00:28:38.280]And this is something I'm really striving to do
[00:28:41.080]in my courses is bringing a multi-scale perspective
[00:28:46.530]So that finally gets us to landscape systems.
[00:28:50.020]We've talked about systems
[00:28:51.830]in complex systems and now landscapes
[00:28:55.430]and it really raises this fundamental question.
[00:29:01.100]And that is our landscapes systems.
[00:29:03.790]And I've hinted around enough about it by now
[00:29:06.860]that I do think they are systems,
[00:29:09.710]but it's really an interest thing one.
[00:29:12.160]And it's one that you see this book here
[00:29:13.990]by Graeme Cumming, who's a ecologist
[00:29:17.801]and resilience scholar currently based in Australia.
[00:29:21.160]He poses that question in this book of his,
[00:29:25.720]his 2011 book,
[00:29:27.050]Spatial Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems.
[00:29:31.850]Which is an important question.
[00:29:32.940]And any reasons that they are
[00:29:34.040]they do display that cohesion.
[00:29:35.640]You have different components
[00:29:37.680]in landscapes interacting with one another.
[00:29:41.450]And if they are systems, are they complex systems?
[00:29:44.490]And if they're complex systems
[00:29:45.830]are they complex adaptive systems?
[00:29:48.730]And again he says, "that they are."
[00:29:51.860]We of course know that landscapes
[00:29:54.330]contain all sorts of complex systems.
[00:29:57.330]But are they complex systems in their own, right?
[00:29:59.920]Can we consider them that?
[00:30:01.810]And the reason that that's an important question
[00:30:05.193]is because if they are,
[00:30:09.132]then it stands to reason
[00:30:09.965]that there are all sorts of things
[00:30:12.640]that, all sorts of things
[00:30:15.330]about complex systems
[00:30:16.630]that we know from complexity science
[00:30:19.170]that could in theory be brought over
[00:30:22.030]into landscape systems.
[00:30:23.850]You know, thinking about again regime shifts
[00:30:27.980]or state shifts
[00:30:29.020]and adaptation and learning
[00:30:32.040]and landscape systems
[00:30:33.157]and all sorts of emergent properties.
[00:30:35.450]We should be able to bring this knowledge
[00:30:39.360]into our study of landscape systems
[00:30:41.400]and use it to address challenges.
[00:30:43.360]And at the same time, we should be able
[00:30:48.030]to take understanding
[00:30:49.140]from landscape systems
[00:30:50.410]and have that contribute to the broader theory
[00:30:54.190]in science of complexity science.
[00:30:57.610]So that's a little bit about
[00:31:00.250]really going into depth about landscape systems.
[00:31:04.630]And we do indeed this whole kind of list of traits
[00:31:09.350]of complex systems.
[00:31:11.010]We do see landscapes exhibiting these.
[00:31:14.250]And I don't have time again, to go through them all.
[00:31:17.090]But I would like to talk a little bit more about feedbacks
[00:31:20.730]because that's something I do a lot of in my courses.
[00:31:23.429]And so, first of all, I did mention
[00:31:25.830]I'm trained as a landscape ecology
[00:31:27.980]so when I think about landscapes
[00:31:31.380]I really like to think about pattern and process
[00:31:35.350]and the relationship between those two things.
[00:31:38.150]And specifically as I'll get
[00:31:40.110]to in a little bit feedbacks between pattern and process.
[00:31:44.030]So this is very much about thinking
[00:31:45.800]about landscapes spatially
[00:31:48.270]and doing it at multiple scales.
[00:31:50.700]And, you know, in our minds,
[00:31:51.890]we often view this as a one-way relationship
[00:31:55.380]that we can observe a pattern.
[00:31:57.270]Maybe it's something like the fact
[00:31:59.280]that all these cedar trees are growing
[00:32:01.750]along this fence line,
[00:32:02.840]but they're not growing out in what looks like a Hade,
[00:32:05.660]a Hade, Meadow.
[00:32:09.240]And that's a pattern it's very clear.
[00:32:11.700]And then we say, what's the process driving that?
[00:32:14.030]What's probably the fact that
[00:32:16.340]those trees aren't getting sheared off
[00:32:18.940]every year when they Hade
[00:32:20.130]or maybe it's the fact that birds perch on that fence.
[00:32:25.945]And they disperse cedar berries
[00:32:30.720]and they happen to grow right there.
[00:32:31.870]And maybe it's both of those things.
[00:32:33.310]And so we, but we usually
[00:32:34.570]we often stop it right there and say, okay
[00:32:36.980]there's the pattern.
[00:32:37.990]What's the process of driving it?
[00:32:40.240]But it's important to note,
[00:32:44.210]I'll get to actually let me back up for a minute
[00:32:46.900]and talk a little bit more about pattern.
[00:32:49.690]So when I say pattern
[00:32:51.870]that's a little bit ambiguous,
[00:32:53.380]but there's a lot of work done
[00:32:55.200]on what is pattern at its fundamental level.
[00:32:58.750]And it turns out there a few,
[00:33:00.980]fundamental components of pattern
[00:33:03.290]and two of those are composition and configuration.
[00:33:06.420]So composition talks about what it is that's there.
[00:33:10.270]This can be the what's present,
[00:33:11.810]or how abundant is it.
[00:33:13.620]Whereas configuration is about how it's arranged
[00:33:16.990]how connected is the thing that's there,
[00:33:19.440]how dense is it.
[00:33:20.320]And so you could also,
[00:33:21.153]you can think about the importance of this
[00:33:23.440]in the sense of, for example furniture in a room,
[00:33:27.770]the functionality of a room
[00:33:29.400]is very much determined
[00:33:31.050]by the furniture that's in it
[00:33:33.610]but not only what furniture is in it,
[00:33:35.400]but how it's arranged.
[00:33:37.790]And you can do a lot to a room
[00:33:39.688]by rearranging the furniture.
[00:33:42.500]We do it all the time in my house.
[00:33:47.291]And so this kind of matrix here
[00:33:51.600]shows some of the different possibilities
[00:33:54.310]that you can have
[00:33:55.290]in kind of a theoretical landscape systems,
[00:33:57.580]but different combinations
[00:33:59.360]of composition and configuration.
[00:34:01.810]So on the X axis you have configuration
[00:34:07.050]how something is arranged.
[00:34:08.380]You can also think of that as connectivity.
[00:34:09.880]And so you could have something
[00:34:12.180]that doesn't display very much connectivity.
[00:34:14.800]So it's very, it's not clumpy at all.
[00:34:17.160]It's sparsely distributed all the way up
[00:34:20.850]to something that has a high degree of connectivity.
[00:34:23.500]So it's all gathered in this clump, in the corner here.
[00:34:25.707]And so all of these
[00:34:26.630]every single box is a different combination
[00:34:28.930]but then you also have on the y-axis you have composition
[00:34:32.580]or the amount of something.
[00:34:33.720]So you go from having not very much down at the bottom
[00:34:36.390]upto a high abundance at the top.
[00:34:41.660]And so we had all these different combinations
[00:34:43.370]where you have the lower left
[00:34:44.880]is not very much of something
[00:34:46.820]and it's very dispersed.
[00:34:49.030]It's not very connected
[00:34:50.890]all the way up to the upper right
[00:34:54.150]where you have a lot of something
[00:34:55.560]and it's very densely connected, very patchy.
[00:34:59.300]And so when we think about pattern in landscapes
[00:35:03.220]we're often cuing in to one of these things
[00:35:06.380]or a combination of them.
[00:35:08.769]And so back to the pattern process relationship,
[00:35:12.240]a lot of times we see a pattern
[00:35:13.827]and we explain it with a process
[00:35:16.070]But when we're talking about landscape systems
[00:35:18.780]and especially as complex systems,
[00:35:22.376]we really observe that
[00:35:25.890]this is a reciprocal relationship
[00:35:28.200]that not only does process drive pattern,
[00:35:31.920]but pattern drives process.
[00:35:33.940]What's there affects what happens there.
[00:35:36.880]And then what happens there affects what's there.
[00:35:40.817]And there are a lot of examples in of this.
[00:35:43.850]One of them is in this paper
[00:35:46.770]you see this relationship between flowering plants
[00:35:51.090]and pollinators in a landscape.
[00:35:53.320]And maybe you have a certain density
[00:35:54.850]of those flowering plants
[00:35:56.330]and it attracts pollinators.
[00:35:57.970]And then what you get is cross-pollination
[00:36:01.360]which is in theory good for the population
[00:36:06.770]of those plants to not have
[00:36:09.180]as opposed to having a lot of self pollination.
[00:36:13.852]And so this is all good until maybe
[00:36:15.610]that density starts to decrease
[00:36:18.448]and you start to get reduced visitation from pollinators.
[00:36:22.560]And that leads to increasing self pollination
[00:36:26.220]which decreases the appeal of the four resources.
[00:36:30.330]And at some point
[00:36:31.170]you can basically erode the resilience
[00:36:36.925]of this population of flowering trees in this case.
[00:36:41.520]And some disturbance in the system
[00:36:44.120]pushes it across a threshold
[00:36:45.860]and into an alternative state.
[00:36:47.860]Here it has the degraded state of the system.
[00:36:51.789]But you can see how hat relationship
[00:36:56.240]that really spatial relationship
[00:36:58.200]between landscape pattern
[00:37:00.120]and process kind of regulates that system
[00:37:04.610]and sets it up for being resilient to that disturbance
[00:37:09.610]as opposed to experiencing in a transition.
[00:37:12.960]That's just one, one example.
[00:37:15.350]We can also talk about our previous example
[00:37:17.730]I mentioned the relationship between grazing bison
[00:37:22.530]and grass and fire.
[00:37:25.380]So where the bison graze influences,
[00:37:29.900]where there's a burn
[00:37:31.690]and both of those things influence where,
[00:37:35.770]which species have room to grow
[00:37:37.940]and which are dominant.
[00:37:38.773]So it produces this complexity in the system
[00:37:40.747]and in that case, by creating diversity
[00:37:43.960]through that interaction of fire and grazing.
[00:37:49.420]So that was, kind of a lot of,
[00:37:51.750]we're still on that definition phase I talked about,
[00:37:56.630]but I think it's important and it's distinctions.
[00:37:59.610]I tried to make in my courses
[00:38:01.180]that really a landscape is any area
[00:38:05.010]you can call almost any heterogeneous area landscape,
[00:38:08.500]but we should be explicit about the scale
[00:38:11.440]at which reviewing the system.
[00:38:12.600]And whenever possible
[00:38:13.590]we should really strive for a multi-scale perspective.
[00:38:17.780]We talked how landscapes do meet
[00:38:20.170]the criteria of being a system
[00:38:23.970]and really being a complex system.
[00:38:26.840]They exhibit characteristics
[00:38:28.840]like hierarchical structure
[00:38:30.170]and positive and negative feedbacks
[00:38:32.320]and emergent properties.
[00:38:34.390]And we just saw an example of some of that
[00:38:36.377]and for example, pattern, process relationships.
[00:38:39.480]Okay. So all of that is some background on
[00:38:43.940]I guess the world, the landscape system
[00:38:46.830]according to Dan, which I'm always interested
[00:38:49.870]in discussing more and broadening.
[00:38:53.570]But I wanna get back to systems thinking.
[00:38:58.310]And what's the utility of systems thinking
[00:39:01.130]and how can we use it?
[00:39:03.610]And specifically, how can it contribute
[00:39:09.510]to our teaching programs?
[00:39:11.910]One reason for using systems thinking
[00:39:15.700]is that the world is a system.
[00:39:18.240]The world is full of systems
[00:39:19.237]and those systems are often complex systems.
[00:39:22.470]So when we work to engage these grand challenges
[00:39:28.940]such as, having productive, sustainable
[00:39:31.390]and resilient landscapes.
[00:39:33.910]I think a systems level approach
[00:39:35.760]and multi-scale approaches
[00:39:37.400]where we bring expertise together
[00:39:39.790]from different areas.
[00:39:40.690]And think about, at this scale.
[00:39:42.580]What's the context?
[00:39:43.660]What are the externalities?
[00:39:45.540]What are the feedbacks?
[00:39:47.010]What are the critical feedbacks?
[00:39:48.140]Maybe they're even missing feedbacks
[00:39:50.300]that we would like to have in our systems
[00:39:52.410]that aren't there.
[00:39:53.490]I want to train my students to be asking
[00:39:56.550]and thinking these sorts of questions.
[00:39:59.020]And it really is just using
[00:40:02.260]what they already know
[00:40:04.300]and what they already learn about.
[00:40:06.590]In many cases, a systems thinking foundation
[00:40:09.190]that's already being established in other courses
[00:40:11.730]I want to find opportunities
[00:40:13.590]to build on that sort of thing.
[00:40:16.910]And when I do that,
[00:40:18.840]I've had a lot of discussions
[00:40:20.190]and I've been very encouraged by those discussions
[00:40:24.190]that I guess the way I've been engaged
[00:40:27.100]by the teaching faculty
[00:40:30.904]and encouraged to ask these sort of questions
[00:40:34.510]of where I can fit in.
[00:40:35.570]And in talking with Dan and Sam even in recent weeks,
[00:40:42.631]I've started looking at some of the SLOs
[00:40:46.928]and the CLOs specifically related to the new major.
[00:40:52.540]And I've picked out just a few of them here
[00:40:56.970]that they seem to ring a bell
[00:40:59.400]a little bit more related to my background
[00:41:02.830]and in particular, in regard to systems thinking.
[00:41:06.100]So, how can I, and these are the areas I'm looking,
[00:41:09.900]I'm trying to hone in on areas
[00:41:11.250]to where I can contribute and add something.
[00:41:14.960]And so thinking about things like plant systems
[00:41:17.110]being complex networks systems,
[00:41:19.600]being more than the sum of the parts
[00:41:21.580]that's emergence that we talked about
[00:41:24.010]and then systems alternating between stable states.
[00:41:27.260]We talked about that with a,
[00:41:29.020]for example, a tall grass prairie system
[00:41:34.290]flipping to woodland, for example,
[00:41:38.370]and feedback's driving that.
[00:41:39.820]So these are all things that I think,
[00:41:41.440]yeah, I can contribute here.
[00:41:43.790]And if we get to go to the content learning outcomes
[00:41:48.180]we have, get a little more specific here
[00:41:51.500]different kinds of ecosystem interactions,
[00:41:53.980]plants are part of in natural and agroecosystems.
[00:41:58.175]And we talk about land use and an ecosystem services
[00:42:01.440]which is also something I'm,
[00:42:03.040]we're talking about that right now
[00:42:04.330]and in Great Plains Ecosystems actually.
[00:42:07.210]And we're talking about agroecosystems
[00:42:08.990]and tall grass prairie ecosystems and these sort of things.
[00:42:11.750]So I see some opportunities here
[00:42:13.700]to really contribute here.
[00:42:16.650]Again, this is an overview
[00:42:17.820]of some of my current courses
[00:42:20.890]that I've either M teaching
[00:42:22.580]I've recently taught or plan to teach in the future.
[00:42:27.540]And I have a good mix here of undergraduate level.
[00:42:33.430]This new one I developed was purely undergraduate.
[00:42:36.558]And then Great Plains Ecosystems is 440/840
[00:42:39.620]and then landscape ecology at this point
[00:42:41.770]is an 800-level course for graduate students.
[00:42:45.170]where we really get into
[00:42:47.483]the theory of landscape ecology
[00:42:49.817]and those sort of analyses.
[00:42:52.100]But it's something I'd like
[00:42:53.010]to diversify a little bit
[00:42:54.570]with different types of landscape systems.
[00:42:57.350]But I just wanna give one example here
[00:43:03.660]of project that a class activity,
[00:43:06.970]whereas, it's kind of an experiment,
[00:43:08.460]but it was from LA Great Plains Ecosystems
[00:43:10.970]a few weeks ago.
[00:43:12.530]Where, I was encouraged by Dan
[00:43:16.880]to hone in on a SLO and maybe a CLO
[00:43:21.224]and look at how it's being addressed in my classes.
[00:43:24.140]And that made me think about,
[00:43:26.000]how I could get to a higher level
[00:43:28.430]of understanding on that.
[00:43:29.670]So in this activity from a few weeks ago,
[00:43:35.503]we just met in class.
[00:43:36.640]They didn't, this wasn't a sign beforehand,
[00:43:38.530]but we assigned this, given this paper by Alan Nap.
[00:43:41.870]This is that same 1999 paper.
[00:43:44.440]We saw the bison grazing on the burn prairie.
[00:43:48.320]And this is just a great description.
[00:43:50.770]It's talking about the bison having this Keystone role.
[00:43:54.430]So it's describing the tall grass prairie system.
[00:43:57.010]And the challenge for the students
[00:43:58.530]was to go into breakout rooms to get this paper.
[00:44:02.440]They hadn't seen it yet.
[00:44:03.630]And then to develop a model
[00:44:05.500]with some modeling software
[00:44:08.810]to represent the tall grass prairie landscape system
[00:44:12.880]And then to identify feedbacks.
[00:44:14.330]And I didn't give them a scale here
[00:44:15.740]and I didn't tell him to do multiple scales
[00:44:17.310]just wanted to see what would emerge.
[00:44:19.270]And I was very impressed
[00:44:20.930]with some of the things the groups came up with.
[00:44:25.000]I just took a screen shot of one of the groups projects
[00:44:29.910]and they shared and went around
[00:44:31.910]and talked about this group was talking about,
[00:44:36.250]that grass fire or the fire grazing cycle.
[00:44:39.700]I was referring to there,
[00:44:41.330]they were talking about carbon in the system
[00:44:43.620]and how carbon was flowing
[00:44:44.670]and whether it's being stored below ground or above ground
[00:44:47.740]and how the bison were interacting with that.
[00:44:50.090]And it looks like kind of a spaghetti monster right now
[00:44:53.410]but when they step through it,
[00:44:55.190]I was really impressed by that,
[00:44:57.230]the systems level thinking
[00:44:58.670]and their knowledge of
[00:44:59.570]of the rangelands system.
[00:45:01.860]And so I'd say it went pretty well,
[00:45:04.300]but we're in reflecting on this a little bit,
[00:45:07.960]here's some more outputs from that
[00:45:10.380]where you can see what the most connected variables
[00:45:13.580]in the system are
[00:45:14.500]and how many in connections
[00:45:16.720]and out connections there are
[00:45:18.180]these sorts of things.
[00:45:19.320]But you know and this is a 400-level class.
[00:45:23.830]And I know that they're getting some systems
[00:45:28.510]in some systems thinking in other classes,
[00:45:30.690]I know HORT 100 they're getting a lot
[00:45:32.810]on vegetable systems and SAMs
[00:45:34.930]and we have the range land systems major,
[00:45:38.734]and they're engaging with that sort of material there.
[00:45:41.460]So, I think it's clear that they,
[00:45:43.270]they're have some systems thinking going on
[00:45:45.740]and they're capable of putting these pieces together
[00:45:49.760]in thinking about landscape systems.
[00:45:51.510]When I looked at that activity,
[00:45:53.410]I think I was, if we look at Bloom's Taxonomy,
[00:45:56.090]I was probably still down here
[00:45:57.910]in the understand and apply,
[00:45:59.730]they're basically taking that paper
[00:46:02.200]and modeling the system.
[00:46:04.140]And some kind of triangulating
[00:46:07.860]where they're maybe but especially
[00:46:10.840]when we talk about the graduate students.
[00:46:13.150]My goal is to get them here,
[00:46:15.580]to be thinking about systems
[00:46:17.080]to be more analyzing systems and evaluating systems.
[00:46:21.260]So building systems models
[00:46:22.790]and then not only identifying feedbacks
[00:46:25.150]but looking at how an increase in one variable
[00:46:27.790]could influence another variable
[00:46:30.390]three connections down the line.
[00:46:31.740]Or maybe what are the thresholds in the system
[00:46:34.210]and what sort of alternative States
[00:46:36.610]could these systems exist in.
[00:46:39.240]And I think there are lots of options for doing this,
[00:46:41.590]even within the software.
[00:46:42.690]There are options for doing that
[00:46:44.020]for turning the knob up and down on different variables
[00:46:48.220]and seeing how other variables respond
[00:46:50.540]given, how you've weighted things in that system.
[00:46:52.960]So, but that's just an just one idea.
[00:47:01.100]I'm really been impressed
[00:47:04.090]by how students have interacted with
[00:47:05.550]this is the rangeland analysis platform
[00:47:07.540]which Dereck and I have collaborated a lot
[00:47:10.680]on providing some products
[00:47:11.890]that are hosted on here related to transitions
[00:47:15.977]and in range on systems.
[00:47:17.500]And you see here this analysis of trends
[00:47:20.650]and landscape systems.
[00:47:21.730]How of the vegetation and these landscapes
[00:47:24.000]changed over time.
[00:47:24.960]You can do this analysis at different scales,
[00:47:26.870]but students are very interested in
[00:47:29.470]going to that place that they know in the Great Plains
[00:47:32.710]and they have that detailed expert knowledge
[00:47:37.762]of that location.
[00:47:38.950]And then looking at the trends that were there,
[00:47:42.020]for a lot of them even,
[00:47:43.810]decades before they were born.
[00:47:45.890]So, and of course, thinking
[00:47:48.060]about things like precipitation and drought effects.
[00:47:51.550]And so these are just some of the tools
[00:47:53.200]that I'm starting to integrate
[00:47:55.870]into my teaching moving forward.
[00:47:59.509]And wanna leave plenty of time for questions
[00:48:01.660]and discussion here,
[00:48:02.580]but I'll just end by saying that
[00:48:05.397]what I'm really interested in is continuing
[00:48:09.390]to think about a diversity of landscape systems.
[00:48:12.980]If I'm teaching landscape ecology,
[00:48:15.410]I'd like to to bring in case studies
[00:48:18.616]from different systems, from a diversity of systems.
[00:48:22.010]Maybe that aren't as often
[00:48:24.010]included in landscape ecology textbooks.
[00:48:27.400]The same thing for the resilience thinking
[00:48:30.320]and landscape systems
[00:48:31.970]to be able to define landscape systems broadly
[00:48:35.480]maybe according to the student's major area of interest.
[00:48:38.880]And then for them to use those same principles
[00:48:41.820]of systems thinking to analyze that system
[00:48:44.720]that think at different scales
[00:48:46.040]to think about what's around the system,
[00:48:48.980]what are the externalities
[00:48:50.480]and ultimately maybe to get a gauge
[00:48:53.500]on what the resilience of that system is
[00:48:55.850]and what sort of disturbances it might experience.
[00:48:59.310]So I guess that's mostly an invitation to,
[00:49:05.157]or something I view as an opportunity to collaborate
[00:49:07.990]because I don't obviously don't have detailed knowledge
[00:49:11.250]of all these systems.
[00:49:12.720]I'm very interested in,
[00:49:15.280]maybe developing a repository of case studies
[00:49:18.020]that I could introduce into my courses,
[00:49:20.640]and then maybe even could contribute
[00:49:22.290]to other courses as well.
[00:49:24.750]So again to find where this sort of thing
[00:49:27.910]can fit in not only in AG-court but in SNR as well.
[00:49:33.570]So with that, I think I'm probably about
[00:49:37.400]at a good time to wrap it up here
[00:49:39.350]and I'm happy to review anything
[00:49:43.050]or answer any questions or write them down
[00:49:45.700]and think about them, but, yeah, again.
[00:49:48.120]Thank you for your time and for joining today.
[00:49:53.160]That was a great presentation, Dan.
[00:49:56.550]I'll ask you a question, Dan.
[00:49:58.250]So how, what's your experience
[00:50:00.920]with getting students to think at multiple scales?
[00:50:05.080]What are the barriers to the cross scale thinking?
[00:50:09.450]Yeah, well, you bring up a really
[00:50:12.230]another layer of complexity.
[00:50:13.680]I think there, because and we do a lot of this.
[00:50:16.760]In resilience thinking
[00:50:19.219]is to not just think at multiple scales,
[00:50:22.050]but to think cross scale
[00:50:23.610]to sort of think about how components
[00:50:27.450]are not only interacting within their scale.
[00:50:30.220]But with other scales that you can think of that
[00:50:32.700]with other levels of that heart hierarchy.
[00:50:34.650]Because that is in theory,
[00:50:37.500]one of the greatest sources of complexity
[00:50:41.180]in systems, we're used to thinking about
[00:50:43.760]top down pressure in systems,
[00:50:46.500]from a higher scale.
[00:50:47.874]But you also have interactions going the other way.
[00:50:52.100]Although we all there aren't always as noticeable.
[00:50:54.440]So I will just say that that is a good question.
[00:50:58.340]And I haven't really, you know, even scale
[00:51:01.740]I've taken a more gentle approach to introducing it.
[00:51:09.010]And so cross scale is still on my list
[00:51:13.567]of complexity giants to tackle.
[00:51:17.650]So, but that's a essential question.
[00:51:22.460]So you a good one.
[00:51:24.612]That's a tough one,
[00:51:25.680]so but good that you're working in there.
[00:51:28.430]So it looks like Sam Wartman has raised his hands.
[00:51:31.210]Thanks Dan, for a good presentation.
[00:51:33.540]I'm looking at this slide here
[00:51:36.280]and I see, next to the, you know, kind of the aerial image
[00:51:41.920]of the Midwest and the top left there
[00:51:43.920]we've got that next kind of a raised bed, urban garden.
[00:51:48.890]So that's a good parallel there
[00:51:51.320]because I'm thinking, we've got people
[00:51:54.630]and we've got students in our department
[00:51:56.120]that work at both those scales are there.
[00:51:58.910]And I liked what you were talking about
[00:52:00.550]with pattern and process.
[00:52:02.240]Are there patterns and processes
[00:52:04.800]that you see in that top left image
[00:52:07.700]that could inform patterns
[00:52:09.150]and processes and even a backyard garden?
[00:52:12.320]And if not, then are there things
[00:52:16.570]that you could teach a student
[00:52:18.090]who works at that backyard scale
[00:52:19.920]about pattern and process
[00:52:22.400]and how to go about
[00:52:23.330]like a similar problem solving process I guess?
[00:52:27.180]So I guess my general question is,
[00:52:29.609]how do you communicate with students
[00:52:32.390]who are working at these two very different scales
[00:52:34.600]and teach them similar skills?
[00:52:37.270]Well, that's a good question.
[00:52:40.834]And I don't have any,
[00:52:43.050]I guess I haven't explicitly thought about that before
[00:52:45.370]but the first thing that came to my mind
[00:52:47.810]was when you said that was to try
[00:52:50.720]to think about processes
[00:52:53.310]that are operating at both of those scales.
[00:52:57.210]You know, we could think of,
[00:52:58.310]I was thinking of nutrient cycling
[00:52:59.960]was the first thing that came to my mind,
[00:53:01.430]which again is not my area of of in-depth expertise,
[00:53:06.010]but if we could look at...
[00:53:13.020]Again, you did bring in you said the Ray is bed.
[00:53:15.960]So there is the topography element to that too.
[00:53:19.520]And so I think that there would be some potential there
[00:53:22.820]to think about flows of things within the raised beds
[00:53:28.260]as well as flows of things within the,
[00:53:32.780]you know kind of the agricultural matrix.
[00:53:34.760]This is out by Utica Nebraska.
[00:53:37.070]This is North Lake, that's a town of Utica there
[00:53:39.110]and this is North Lake basin.
[00:53:40.870]It's a game and parks property.
[00:53:42.770]And so it's this wetland complex
[00:53:45.410]but then there's some of these wetlands
[00:53:46.670]that are farmed through, of course, as we see.
[00:53:50.770]And so, the flows issue is very strong there too,
[00:53:55.630]as far as where the water's flowing
[00:53:58.850]and the nutrient flows.
[00:54:00.120]And that's probably sounding a little bit elementary
[00:54:03.600]to someone, you've thought in-depth
[00:54:05.250]about these vegetable systems.
[00:54:09.120]But that's I guess where I'd start
[00:54:10.950]is trying to look for some commonalities
[00:54:14.330]across those scales that we could start comparing
[00:54:18.090]because that's, I think,
[00:54:19.890]you can always compare across scales
[00:54:21.820]and you can always compare.
[00:54:25.350]Making the comparisons,
[00:54:26.390]I think are where the insights
[00:54:27.500]come with this sort of thing.
[00:54:28.520]So the first thing I'd do
[00:54:29.700]is look for something to compare.
[00:54:32.390]Yeah, and I think that there's something
[00:54:34.240]to be said for just learning that the pattern
[00:54:37.150]and process and systems approach.
[00:54:40.850]I think it will just as a diagnostics tool, right.
[00:54:43.290]So whether you're looking at patterns of the landscapes,
[00:54:48.073]at the broad landscape scale
[00:54:48.906]or the backyard scale.
[00:54:50.160]I think there's a skill and an art to that
[00:54:52.150]that students can benefit from practicing.
[00:54:55.920]Yes, I agree.
[00:54:57.700]And that when you were talking
[00:54:59.460]it just one of the people I had discussions
[00:55:02.760]with when I was just starting out was
[00:55:06.340]I think it was Sidney Everhart
[00:55:09.000]and she was talking about these patterns on a tree,
[00:55:13.000]like, so she was working in three dimensions
[00:55:14.820]talking about fungus and fruit,
[00:55:17.820]I think, or something like that.
[00:55:19.160]And so, it raises even the possibility
[00:55:23.380]for bringing the increased dimension
[00:55:26.850]that dimensionality into it too.
[00:55:28.630]I'm used to thinking in 2D.
[00:55:30.280]I have to admit from aerial imagery.
[00:55:34.320]Yeah. Thank you.
[00:55:35.560]Great, great question there, Sam.
[00:55:39.270]So Dan what do you think
[00:55:41.689]that the Sam's question kind of made me
[00:55:45.260]think about the comparison similarities?
[00:55:48.400]What about the other hand where you see divergence
[00:55:51.570]and these things and where you see
[00:55:53.150]like that manifesting importantly for us
[00:55:57.290]to learn for agricultural systems
[00:55:58.980]and rangelands systems
[00:56:01.190]You mean differences in different scales
[00:56:04.220]or differences in systems?
[00:56:07.446]That's, I mean, I think that's a good one.
[00:56:13.050]I think there's a lot to be done
[00:56:16.650]with thinking about context.
[00:56:18.100]What's the context of the system?
[00:56:20.850]And so, it take that example
[00:56:25.300]of the wetlands in this picture
[00:56:28.730]you have the wetlands that are within this.
[00:56:31.390]This is a conservation property, that game and parks
[00:56:34.070]and you have the wetlands that are not far away.
[00:56:38.830]There probably are species dispersing
[00:56:41.240]wetland dependent species in a wet here
[00:56:43.010]dispersing back and forth
[00:56:44.170]between these wetlands there.
[00:56:46.950]Maybe even the flow,
[00:56:48.350]they're connect the basins might be connected
[00:56:50.400]during a heavy rain.
[00:56:52.070]But the context of those systems is different.
[00:56:54.770]And so we would have one,
[00:56:56.300]we would call it a wetland system
[00:56:58.100]and when we might even call it an agroecosystem
[00:57:01.393]And so I'm again thinking of the role of space there.
[00:57:05.520]The fact that they're very close to one another
[00:57:08.470]same thing with these wetlands
[00:57:09.820]on the other side of the road here.
[00:57:13.910]They're connected in many ways to one another
[00:57:16.610]and they're very similar systems
[00:57:18.680]but their context is different.
[00:57:20.190]And so again, I think I would go back to comparisons
[00:57:23.902]and thinking about,
[00:57:28.350]especially in an agroecosystem
[00:57:29.810]some of the role of context
[00:57:32.200]and interaction with processes in the Ag system,
[00:57:36.640]whatever that would be.
[00:57:38.550]I think I took that down the right direction.
[00:57:43.280]It was a pretty open direction,
[00:57:45.460]so no wrong direction there.
[00:57:47.640]I guess I will just point out that Dan.
[00:57:49.590]I was kind of thinking of some of the others Dan's work
[00:57:53.570]but with what you mentioned earlier
[00:57:55.190]when he was doing boundary detection and ecosystems.
[00:57:57.450]So I, and this wetland was making me think of the
[00:58:01.270]how the boundaries manifest
[00:58:03.150]and where they come apart and come similar
[00:58:06.650]and then they kind of break apart there, so.
[00:58:10.180]Yeah, boundaries is something I'm very interested in
[00:58:12.690]in the sense of systems of trying to detect
[00:58:15.770]where you can move from one system to another
[00:58:18.357]and at what scale.
[00:58:21.140]And, and so that's kind of the fundamental idea
[00:58:23.710]behind a lot of my research in detecting changes,
[00:58:28.730]not just over time
[00:58:29.700]but changes in space
[00:58:31.130]when you move from one system into another one
[00:58:34.710]or from one regime into another one.
[00:58:36.997]Thank you Dan for this awesome talk.
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