Variable: Sustenance (agriculture and resource management)

The provision of sustenance (food, potable water, energy, shelter, and other critical resources) is a central and collective challenge facing all social systems (Hawley 1950). The management of that challenge and the production of necessary supplies require agricultural and resource management institutions of some complexity (Field and Burch 1988). Irrigation districts, farmers' cooperatives, timber companies, tree farm associations, extension offices, federal management agencies, and environmentally oriented interest groups are all components of the sustenance institution. Measures include organizational capacity (number of agents/farm, acres in production), output (measured in dollar values or crop tonnage), and range of sustenance products (number of crops or timber types). As agriculture and resource management are the chief methods for transforming critical resources into necessary social system supplies, their importance to human ecosystem functioning is key. Changes in production, efficiency, or distribution can heave effects throughout human ecosystems.

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