An integrated perspective of humans-in-nature more important than ever for both science and development
Already two decades ago centre science director Carl Folke and Canadian professor Fikret Berkes started to use the concept “social-ecological system” as part of an integrated perspective of humans-in-nature. They related it to the, at that time, emerging concept of resilience. Since then a lot has happened in the research on resilience in social-ecological systems. Today, with the new Sustainable Development Goals and a revived global environmental change research agenda this approach is as pertinent as ever.
In fact, the focus of international development efforts and science is slowly shifting from viewing the environment as an externality to the biosphere as a precondition for social justice, economic development, and sustainability.
This is the message from an article in Ecology and Society by Carl Folke, Reinette Biggs, Albert Norström, Belinda Reyers and Johan Rockström where they present how the social-ecological approach has developed over the years and why it is more important than ever.
“The social-ecological resilience approach emphasizes that humans and well-being fundamentally rest on the capacity of the biosphere to sustain us, irrespective of whether or not people recognize this dependence.”
Carl Folke, lead author
- The concept “social-ecological system” has been in use for almost two decades in the scientific literature
- Centre researchers present how this approach has developed over the years and why it is more important than ever both in science and development efforts
- It is high time to view the biosphere as a precondition for social justice, economic development, and sustainability
Citation: Folke, C., R. Biggs, A. V. Norström, B. Reyers, and J. Rockström. 2016. Social-ecological resilience and biosphere-based sustainability science. Ecology and Society 21(3):41. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08748-210341
Carl Folke is science director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He has extensive experience in transdisciplinary collaboration and has worked with ecosystem dynamics and services as well as the social and economic dimension of ecosystem management and proactive measures to manage resilience.
Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs‘ is a Society in Science Fellow funded by the Branco Weiss foundation. Her research focuses on regime shifts — large, abrupt, long-lasting changes that can have dramatic impacts on human economies and societies.
Albert Norström is Executive Director of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) and a researcher with a focus on coastal and marine systems.
Belinda Reyers is the Director of the GRAID (Guidance for Resilience in the Anthropocene: Investments for Development) programme at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Her research involves regional and international collaborations which aim to integrate knowledge on social-ecological systems and their role in supporting resilient societies into the policies and practices of decision makers.
Johan Rockström is the executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and an internationally recognized scientist for his work on global sustainability issues.
- Folke, C., R. Biggs, A. V. Norström, B. Reyers, and J. Rockström. 2016. Social-ecological resilience and biosphere-based sustainability science. Ecology and Society 21(3):41.