Maria is a research leader of the Biosphere Stewardship stream at SRC, and is currently leading research projects on co-production of knowledge for syntheses across scientific, local and indigenous knowledge systems; sense of place and cultural ecosystems services in Southern Africa; and emerging stewardship networks in Bangalore, India. She is part of the GRAID programme, focusing on linking a Multiple Evidence Base perspective into planning for development, including resilience assessments.
As an underlying theme, Maria’s research sets out to understand how positive connections between people and nature matter for moving towards trajectories of ecosystem-based management for human well-being. In particular, she is interested in the in-tangible, non-material aspects of human-nature interactions, such as local knowledge, sense of place, and biocultural connections, and the implications for building social-ecological resilience and transformative capacity. She has been working with aspects in social-ecological systems in Tanzania, Madagascar, South Africa, India, and Sweden.
Maria Tengö is and has been supervising PhD and master level projects on e.g. cultural ecosystem services, stewardship networks, sense of place and place making, and indigenous knowledge in South Africa, India (Bangalore), US (New York), Colombia (Bogota), and Ecuador.
On-going research projects:
Maria has an interdisciplinary PhD in Natural Resource Management from the Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University. Her undergraduate education was primarily in biology and ecology at Uppsala and Stockholm University, but included courses in ecological economics, philosophy, history of science, and conservation management. During her PhD she was engaged in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Geography, McGill University, Canada. During 2005-2006 she was developing and coordinating the Master programme that was the precursor to the current master program at the SRC.
Maria has supervised one PhD-student (Vanessa Masterson, defended 2016), and more than 10 master students (6 at the SRC).
Since 2010, Maria has been collaborating closely with SwedBio, a science-policy interface based at the SRC, on building a community of practice across knowledge systems and cultures to address the challenge of mobilizing and synthesizing knowledge from diverse knowledge systems in equal, transparent, and useful ways. Together with SwedBio partners and academic colleagues, we are working in the context of synthesising knowledge across scales e.g. in the IPBES and the CBD, as well as local to regional contexts, based on a Multiple Evidence Base approach, which you can read more about here.
Research news | 2017-05-30
Emerging research on people’s attachment to places can unlock capacity to better deal with change
Research news | 2017-02-27
New publication presents progress toward tools and approaches for working with diverse knowledge systems in ecosystem assessments
Research news | 2016-02-29
Centre’s approach to social-ecological systems helps support UN biodiversity assessment
Research news | 2015-06-05
Special issue highlights the social importance of ecosystem services in urban areas
2017 - Journal / article
Despite a general awareness of the social–ecological complexities within which conservation interventions are embedded, approaches to understanding a diversity of local perspectives of heterogeneous landscapes and how they matter for the outcomes of these interventions are seldom demonstrated. We apply a social–ecological approach to exploring the multiple place meanings related to key landscape elements around a proposed comm...
2017 - Journal / article
To develop and apply goals for future sustainability, we must consider what people care about and what motivates them to engage in solving sustainability issues. Sense of place theory and methods provide a rich source of insights that, like the social-ecological systems perspective, assume an interconnected social and biophysical reality. However, these fields of research are only recently beginning to converge, and we see gr...
2017 - Journal / article
Indigenous peoples and local communities live in, manage and own vast areas often rich in biodiversity and critical for ecosystem services. Bridging indigenous and local knowledge systems with scientific knowledge systems is vital to enhance knowledge, practice, and ethics to move towards sustainability at multiple scales. We focus on international science-policy processes and present a framework for evidence-based guidance on...
2016 - Journal / article
This paper investigates how the agency of local residents can affect persistent and unsustainable practices in urban water supply governance. Using a case study from Bangalore, India, we analyze a social–ecological trap which developed after a shift to external water provision paired with rapid urbanization. The reluctance of forsaking initial investments in infrastructure and competence, and the subsequent loss of the local n...