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West, S., L. J. Haider, S. Stålhammar, and S. Woroniecki. 2020. A relational turn for sustainability science? Relational thinking, leverage points and transformations. Ecosystems and People 16(1):304–325.
In sustainability science, revising the paradigms that separate humans from nature is considered a powerful ‘leverage point’ in pursuit of transformations. The coupled social-ecological and human-environment systems perspectives at the heart of sustainability science have, in many ways, enhanced recognition across academic, civil, policy and business spheres that humans and nature are inextricably connected. However, in retai...
Orach, K., A. Duit, and M. Schlüter. 2020. Sustainable natural resource governance under interest group competition in policy-making. Nature Human Behaviour 4:898–909.
Non-state actors play an increasingly important role in environmental policy. Lobbying by interest groups has been associated with policy stagnation and environmental degradation as well as with sustainable governance. However, little is known about how competition between economic and environmental interests influences the ability of governance systems to avoid undesirable outcomes. We investigate how competing interest grou...
Wijermans, N., W. J. Boonstra, K. Orach, J. Hentati-Sundberg, and M. Schlüter. 2020. Behavioural diversity in fishing—Towards a next generation of fishery models. Fish and Fisheries 00:1–19.
Despite improved knowledge and stricter regulations, numerous fish stocks remain overharvested. Previous research has shown that fisheries management may fail when the models and assessments used to inform management are based on unrealistic assumptions regarding fishers' decision‐making and responses to policies. Improving the understanding of fisher behaviour requires addressing its diversity and complexity through the integ...
Global Challenges, Governance, and Complexity: Applications and Frontiers. V. Galaz, editor. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA.
There is an increased interest in integrating insights from the complexity sciences to studies of governance and policy. While the issue has been debated, and the term of ‘complexity’ has multiple and sometimes contested interpretations, it is also clear the field has spurred a number of interesting theoretical and empirical efforts. The book includes key thinkers in the field, elaborates on different analytical approaches in ...
Martin, R., Schlüter, M., Blenckner, T. 2020. The importance of transient social dynamics for restoring ecosystems beyond ecological tipping points. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1817154117
Managing regime shifts is often associated with “turning back from the brink” assuming that once a system has transgressed a tipping point, it moves unavoidably toward the undesired state. We show that a regime shift is rather a slippery slope that can be managed and even reversed when transient dynamics and time lags in the coupled social-ecological system are taken into account. We constructed an empirically based simulatio...
Lindkvist, E., Wijermans, N., Daw, T.M., Gonzalez-Mon, B., et.al. 2020. Navigating Complexities: Agent-Based Modeling to Support Research, Governance, and Management in Small-Scale Fisheries. Front. Mar. Sci., 17 January 2020, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00733
The sustainable governance and management of small-scale fisheries (SSF) is challenging, largely due to their dynamic and complex nature. Agent-based modeling (ABM) is a computational modeling approach that can account for the dynamism and complexity in SSF by modeling entities as individual agents with different characteristics and behavior, and simulate how their interactions can give rise to emergent phenomena, such as over...
Hertz, T., Garcia, M.,M., Schlüter, M. 2020. From nouns to verbs: How process ontologies enhance our understanding of social‐ecological systems understood as complex adaptive systems. People and Nature, https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10079
Research on social‐ecological systems (SES) has highlighted their complex and adaptive character and pointed to the importance of recognizing their intertwined nature. Yet, we often base our analysis and governance of SES on static and independent objects, such as actors and resources which are not well suited to address complexity and intertwinedness. This bias, which is largely implicit, has its roots in substance ontologies...
Journal / article
Schill, C., J. M. Anderies, T. Lindahl, C. Folke, S. Polasky, J. C. Cárdenas, A.-S. Crépin, M. A. Janssen, J. Norberg, and M. Schlüter. 2019. A more dynamic understanding of human behaviour for the Anthropocene. Nature Sustainability 2:1075–1082.
Human behaviour is of profound significance in shaping pathways towards sustainability. Yet, the approach to understanding human behaviour in many fields remains reliant on overly simplistic models. For a better understanding of the interface between human behaviour and sustainability, we take work in behavioural economics and cognitive psychology as a starting point, but argue for an expansion of this work by adopting a more ...
West, S., van Kerkhoff, L., Wagenaar, H. 2019. Beyond “linking knowledge and action”: towards a practice-based approach to transdisciplinary sustainability interventions, Policy Studies, 40:5, 534-555
The imperative to “link knowledge and action” is widely invoked as a defining characteristic of sustainability research. The complexities of sustainability challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss mean that linear models of knowledge and action, where knowledge is produced first (by researchers) then “applied to” action (by policy actors), are considered insufficient. Researchers have developed more dynamic, ope...
Schlüter, M., Orach, K., Lindkvist, E., Martin, R., Wijermans, N. et al. 2019. Toward a methodology for explaining and theorizing about social-ecological phenomena. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Volume 39, August 2019, Pages 44-53
Explanations that account for complex causation, emergence, and social-ecological interdependence are necessary for building theories of social-ecological phenomena. Social-ecological systems (SES) research has accumulated rich empirical understanding of SES; however, integration of this knowledge toward contextualized generalizations, or middle-range theories, remains challenging. We discuss the potential of an iterative and ...
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