Kauffman uses the word landscape in association with the word fitness,1 a term commonly used in ecology to mean the degree of adaptation to the habitat or ecological niche of an individual species. I suspect it can also describe the goodness of fit of two complex, multivariate systems to each other. Kauffman uses chaos in a technical sense, whereas in this discussion it is used in a more colloquial sense. However, it seemed important to begin this discussion with Kauffman's publications.
With Kauffman's analysis in mind, this author draws three conclusions about the balance between technological and ecosystem services: (1) abrupt changes are not prudent in the coevolution of complex, multivariate systems, (2) in two coevolving systems with substantive interdependence, chaos in one is likely to result in chaos in the other, and (3) coevolution can drain energy and deplete resources of the coevolving partners, as in the case of predator and prey. This is also true for nations coevolving in a climate of hostility, as was the case for the USSR and the United States during the Cold War. Finally, coevolution is likely to proceed most smoothly if at least one of the parties recognizes the dynamics of the situation.
In the coevolution of a predator species and its prey (the prey evolving toward more elusiveness and the predator increasing its foraging efficiency), one might make the case that the relationship is beneficial to both species because the capabilities of each species are thereby improved. However, less benign forms of coevolution are also evident. Application of pesticides leads to pesticide resistance in the target organisms, thereby requiring more and more pesticides to achieve the same result and ultimately increasing the risks to nontarget species, including humans. Thus, the application of pesticides, if not done skillfully, can pose a serious threat to human health, a situation well documented in the literature. As a consequence, one might reasonably ask if the coevolution of human society and natural systems is mutually beneficial or mutually destructive. Since the beginning of the agricultural revolution, society has attempted to alter natural systems so that more and more of the energy captured by photosynthesis is converted to foodstuffs and other products of interest to human society (Vitousek et al., 1986). Not only has there been a substantial loss of space devoted to unmanaged production of diverse ecosystem services as a result of agricultural activities, but relatively natural ecosystems, particularly those adjacent to agroecosystems, have often been affected by runoff and airborne contaminants such as pesticides and dust, fragmentation, and, finally, changes in microclimate. It seems possible that this could represent hostile coevolution. Erwin (1991) states, "Within a few hundred years this planet will have little more than lineages of domestic weeds, flies, cockroaches, and starlings, evolving to fill a converted and mostly decertified environment left in the wake of nonenvironmentally adaptive human cultural evolution." The pesticide tolerance and increased pesticide use described earlier are one such example. In hostile coevolution, the deleterious effects of human society on natural ecosystems will select for those organisms