Scale Ecology and Society, 11(2):8. Cross, Adger, Berkes,

Scale and Cross-Scale Dynamics: Governance and Information in A Multilevel World. Cash, D.W., W. Adger, F. Berkes, P. Garden, L. Lebel, P. Olsson, L. Pritchard, and O. Young (2006). Ecology and Society, 11(2):8.



Cross, Adger, Berkes, etc. discuss the importance and versatility of scale and cross-scale dynamic’s roles in managing environmental data. Scales can be spatial, temporal, quantitative or analytical dimensions used to measure and study any phenomenon. In Figure 3, a cross-scale is used in order to convey the spatial and temporal dimensions of bio geophysical phenomena and two human domains.  Spatial and temporal scales are typically used in conjunction due to spatial scales being a little more general whereas temporal cover multiple areas (ie rates, durations, and frequencies). More specifically, if read correctly Figure 3 provides an insight to farmers about water supplies, prices of the crops at harvest and even weather. All of those things directly impact the biosphere which is composed of air, water, soil and a few other components. The breakdown of the graph is intriguing thus, teaching its readers that environmental science can be engaging and fun.

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With that being said, there are a few challenges with the proper usage and interpretations of scales. First being, the failure to recognize important scale and level interactions altogether. Ignorance is the biggest hurdle when it comes to challenges. Examples take place in the management arena are national policies that hinders local policies.  In these cases, it is often for small scale issues to turn into something much larger. The second is the persistence of mismatches between levels and scales in human environment systems. Furthermore, if the input to the system is incorrect due to a mismatch, the priority can be greatly unexaggerated. This can be especially dangerous because it can skew the kinetics and dimensions. The final issue is the failure to recognize heterogeneity in the way that scales are perceived and values by different actors. It is imperative to keep in mind that when environmental data is incorrectly documented or interpreted, a devastating aftermath may very well follow.


Throughout the document, it is expressed that there is no panacea for all the challenges that comes with scales and cross scales.  Scale challenges are spreading widely and the misconception of scale is why societies throughout history have faced challenges of sustainability. One of the more promising solutions is co-management. Having multiple perspectives can cause conflict, but in the end, works out because no one person can do what they please.