Complex Adaptive Systems involve a multitude of interactions/interconnections among numerous component parts in which ‘control’ is highly decentralized, and the coherent behaviour (patterns) arising from the interactions (competitive, cooperative) between the ‘agents’, which are capable of changing and ‘learning’ – adaptive.
Both ecological and social systems are complex adaptive systems, and even more so together in a greater eco/soci-economic system: we are dependent on ecological systems for our lives (air, water, nutrients, etc.), and, our actions in turn affect ecosystems. Furthermore, our socio-economic systems depend entirely on the inputs of ecological resources as ‘factors’ of productions (and ’sinks’ for our waste by-products).
Moreover, the problematic eco/socio-economic situations are complex adaptive systems.
So, if we’re to truly resolve our eco/social ‘problems’ we can do so only with a systems mindset – by resolving the complex adaptive system ‘as a whole’.