Birds, bees, and banks: lessons from collapsing ecosystems | Non-Equilibrium Social Science |

Figuring out why financial crises emerge in seemingly stable economies is tough. Widespread collapses are notoriously difficult to predict - to do so requires a comprehensive view of a complex, interconnected system. But help may be at hand: experts in finance are now looking to certain fields of ecology to help provide this viewpoint.

Ecologists have long been concerned with how connections between species relate to the overall stability of an ecosystem. Rather than focus on an individual species, some use a powerful branch of mathematics called network theory to map out a web of interaction. These networks can then be compared to one another to provide insights into how an ecosystem might cope with external shocks. Depending on the network’s structure, even a small change can threaten an entire system.

Via Bernard Ryefield