Peterson is professor in environmental sciences with emphasis on resilience and social-ecological systems at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. His research combines three themes: abrupt systemic change, how ecological changes impacts people, and using futures thinking to improve navigating surprising social-ecological change. He is head of subject for the centre’s Sustainability Science PhD programme.
He has a Bachelors degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Florida. He was also a postdoc at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at University of California, Santa Barbara and the Center for Limnology at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to coming to the Stockholm Resilience Centre he was an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair jointly appointed in the department of Geography and the McGill School of the Environment, at McGill University.
He was co-editor of the Artic Council’s Arctic Resilience Report. He was a coordinating lead author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’s Scenarios Assessment. He was coordinating lead author for IPBES’s scenarios and models assessment, and is currently a review editor for an IPBES regional assessment. He has been a member of the Resilience Alliance, since its founding. He has conducted and contributed to participatory ecosystem management processes in Canada, the USA, and Sweden.
Awards and achievements:
Research news | 2019-04-17
Recognised for their outstanding contributions to ecology
Research news | 2018-12-20
New study reveals hidden links and potential domino effects between tipping points in climate, ecosystems and societies
Research news | 2018-12-13
Money sent home by migrants can prevent undesired farmland abandonment, as well as the promise of extensive forest regrowth
Research news | 2018-06-12
Questions around the popular ecosystem services framework and nature’s contribution to people has hit a nerve
First in-depth analysis of a resilience assessment put into practice
Centre researcher Garry Peterson explains
Key note presentation during the 2015 PECS conference
Centre researcher Sara Borgström explains the research project Ekoklim, featured as 14 scientific articles in Ambio
2019 - Journal / article
Fraccascia, Giannoccaro, and Albino (hereafter FGA) recently reviewed research on the resilience of complex systems . They identified several different fields in which research on the resilience of complex systems is commonly undertaken but found that the literature is highly compartmentalised with few citations between these fields. This result matches previous cross-disciplinary reviews of resilience that have found a sim...
2018 - Journal / article
Regime shifts are large, abrupt, and persistent critical transitions in the function and structure of ecosystems. Yet, it is unknown how these transitions will interact, whether the occurrence of one will increase the likelihood of another or simply correlate at distant places. We explored two types of cascading effects: Domino effects create one-way dependencies, whereas hidden feedbacks produce two-way interactions. We compa...
2018 - Book chapter
The rapid urbanization associated with the Anthropocene provides an imperative for humans to think diff erently about the future. The “seeds” approach describes how niche experiments can, over time, coalesce to shift the dominant regime onto a more sustainable trajectory. Urban transformations are complex phenomena; the seeds approach is a tool that can help us understand how transformations occur and how to nudge them towards...
2018 - Journal / article
We explore how remittances shape the effect of rural out-migration on the potential for local forest transitions. Building on an existing theoretical model of social-ecological regime shifts that links migration, farmland abandonment, and forest regrowth, we incorporate migrant remittances as an additional rural-urban teleconnection. We also extend the ecological dynamics to include a dynamical forest regrowth rate, generating...