The research stream on Biosphere stewardship originates in the realization that humans can, and need to, act in concert with the living systems we depend on (the biosphere). Our research explores what kind of knowledge systems, values, management practices, behaviors, and governance arrangements that build sustainability in an increasingly interconnected and turbulent world.
The concept of biosphere stewardship directs attention to human-nature relationships that generate positive outcomes for biodiversity and ecosystem services, emphasizing notions of care, learning and collaboration.
We build on our strong legacy of place-based studies of social-ecological systems, and the insight that in the Anthropocene, stewardship needs to be studied and enacted beyond the local scale. Biosphere stewardship can emerge in traditional as well as modernized societies, at local to global levels, and in urban as well as rural settings. It is a process that engages individuals, communities, networks, organizations and institutions in shared visions, building capacity to live with change, adapt and transform. In order to understand coupled social-ecological dynamics, our research engages with actors at diverse levels and mobilizes multiple sources of evidence and experience.
Research in this stream combines research on ecosystem dynamics, e.g. the role of functional diversity, fast and slow variables and regime shifts, and aspects of interrelated social dynamics including e.g. emergence of ecosystem based management and adaptive governance, social learning, strategic interventions to influence behavior, and changes in norms and institutions conducive with stewardship.
The cultural dimension of complex adaptive social-ecological systems is also part of this stream, and spans from research involving traditional societies, to recent developments in the area of cultural ecosystem services.
Research in this stream encourage explorations of methods that enable new ways to study social-ecological systems as inherently interlinked in time and space, including mixed methods and tools and approaches for co-constructing knowledge with actors at multiple scales.
Research news | 2017-02-06
Scientists, communities and actors connected to the Mombasa fisheries system join forces to support the most vulnerable in a rapidly changing environment
Research news | 2017-02-02
Stockholm Resilience Centre and ReAct join forces on the global antibiotic resistance challenge
Research news | 2017-01-09
Study presents application of planetary boundaries framework at national decision-making scales
Research news | 2016-12-20
New study looks at how shocks like political change, natural disasters, diseases and overfishing have affected capture fisheries and aquaculture worldwide
Research news | 2016-12-09
New study looks at commitment to fisheries regulations and why it is a matter of quality rather than quantity
Research news | 2016-11-29
Study explores what a greener Sahel means beyond just satellite images – a social-ecological explanation
2017 - Journal / article
The emerging discipline of sustainability science is focused explicitly on the dynamic interactions between nature and society and is committed to research that spans multiple scales and can support transitions toward greater sustainability. Because a growing body of place-based social-ecological sustainability research (PBSESR) has emerged in recent decades, there is a growing need to understand better how to maximize the ef...
2017 - Journal / article
The paper analyzes how adaptability (adaptive capacity and adaptations) is constructed in the literature on resilience of social–ecological systems (SES). According to some critics, this literature views adaptability as the capacity of SES to self-organize in an autonomous harmonious consensus-building process, ignoring strategies, conflicting goals, and power issues. We assessed 183 papers, coding two dimensions of adaptabil...
2017 - Journal / article
Sustainable Development Goals offer an opportunity to improve human well-being while conserving natural resources. Ecosystem services highlight human well-being benefits ecosystems, including agricultural ecosystems, provides. Whereas agricultural systems produce the majority of our food, they drive significant environmental degradation. This tension between development and environmental conservation objectives is not an immut...
2017 - Newspaper and media input
Our global food system has two opposing faces. It has almost one billion people suffering from hunger, while nearly the same number suffers from obesity. This is also a world where people struggle daily to obtain enough food, and where people waste more than that same amount every day. Global warming and extreme weather events are expected to increase the volatility of ecosystems and thereby stunt the productivity of agricultu...
This project aims to identify determinants of successful co-management processes embracing the guiding principles of ecosystem-based management Read more here