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The ecosystem approach is a salient policy paradigm originating from a scientific understanding of the reality of complex ecosystem dynamics. In this article, we investigate how Swedish national marine policies and practice between 2002 and 2015 have changed towards an ecosystem approach. Government documents, the scientific literature, institutional changes, changes in legislation, pilot projects, and changes in science and public opinion were reviewed and combined with information from expert interviews. We found that changes in policy and practice have slowly stimulated the development of an ecosystem approach, but that limited political leadership, challenges of coordination, different agency cultures, and limited learning appears to be key barriers for further and more substantial change. We compare and contrast the Swedish national process of change with other documented experiences of implementing an ecosystem approach and find that several countries struggle with similar challenges. Substantial work still remains in Sweden and we provide suggestions for how to stimulate further and more substantial change at the national level.
Research news | 2017-09-24
Why it is high time for a more people-centred paradigm in Earth System science to better study the challenges of the Anthropocene
General news | 2017-08-29
Centre science director Carl Folke awarded the 2017 Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science for his outstanding scientific work
Research news | 2017-08-25
Invasion of the Indo-Pacific lionfish outside Jamaica reveals need to improve collaboration within marine protected areas
Research news | 2017-08-21
Feed resources is the big challenge for expansion of marine aquaculture - not lack of suitable ocean space
Research news | 2017-08-19
Social innovation initiatives must be fit for the challenges of the Anthropocene
Research news | 2017-08-18
Collaborative governance not always fit for solving environmental problems, according to new review article in Science