Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo
Complexity in Human-Environment Systems: Understanding and Responding to Shocks
In an increasingly interconnected world, the impact of disturbances spreading through the networks of interacting systems controlling the flow of products, information, and wealth cannot be ignored. Shocks consist of rapid and significant changes in system behaviours, which often lead to undesirable outcomes. The effects of shocks are generally difficult to predict and prevent. As a result, gaining a deeper understanding of their dynamics may facilitate the development of more effective policies to limit or prevent their spread. This project is aimed at exploring the dynamics and impact of shocks in important agricultural and ecological systems on regional and global scales. We intend to model 3 complex systems which are affected by shocks; global agri-food trade networks, Brazilian forest-grassland mosaics, and the global forestry trade network. Through a variety of modelling and analysis techniques we will expand our understanding of how these systems respond to shocks.