An empirical model of the Baltic Sea reveals the importance of social dynamics for ecological regime shifts

Summary

"Natural resource management is people management" is a cliché, but the effects of human behavior on the condition of natural resources, and vice versa, are often still not sufficiently acknowledged when modeling and managing natural resources.

We constructed an empirically parameterized model of the boom and collapse of Baltic cod fisheries in the 1980s that explicitly took these two-way interactions between human action and ecological dynamics into account.

We used novel methods of analysis based on generalized modeling to demonstrate how the interplay of social and ecological processes can be critically important for understanding and managing the dynamics of cod stocks and fisher welfare in the Baltic, as well as ecosystems and human well-being in general.

Information

Theme affiliation: Interacting complexities
Full reference: Lade, S.J., S. Niiranen, J. Hentati-Sundberg, T. Blenckner, W.J. Boonstra, K. Orach, M.F. Quaas, H. Österblom, M. Schlüter. 2015. An empirical model of the Baltic Sea reveals the importance of social dynamics for ecological regime shifts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 112: 11120–11125