The balance between concepts and complexity in ecology

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Ecological concepts and their acronyms can obstruct understanding of complexity by providing seemingly simple and certain descriptions of the natural world. Their use requires a balanced approach.

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Acknowledgements

This article has evolved following conversations in many multidisciplinary fora that have recognized common disconnects between researchers and policymakers, often driven by a lack of consensus on the meaning and appropriate use of certain ecological concepts. There are therefore many people from the ecological, social and economic sciences and the humanities as well as the environmental policy sector that we thank for their input. In particular, thanks go to M. Schlüter, H. Hinz, D. Dannecker, E. Olofsson, A. Walley, A. Åberg and P. Craze. A.F.J. was supported by NSF grant DEB-1632648 (2017/2018). S.L. was supported by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development.

Author information

A.F.J. and S.L. conceived and wrote the work.

Correspondence to Andrew F. Johnson.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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