The behaviour of social-ecological systems (SES) is determined by the interactions between actors, institutions and the resource systems they govern and depend on. The resulting social-ecological linkages and feedback loops determine a system’s resilience, i.e. its capacity to cope with and adapt to change. Understanding the dynamic coupling of human and natural systems has thus emerged as a major focus of international efforts to address challenges such as climate change and the sustainable use of natural resources. However, basic information and understanding of the resilience and dynamics of coupled SES is still lacking. The proposed research will advance the conceptual and empirical basis of resilience and our understanding of the dynamics of SESs by systematically investigating social-ecological linkages and their impact on system resilience using theoretical and empirically- based simulation modelling. The analysis will be based on four diagnostic case studies from water, marine ecosystem and land management iteratively combined with theoretical modelling of stylized cases. It will apply and further develop an ontological SES framework that facilitates interdisciplinary analysis and comparison of SES. As there is no single theory and method for the study of SESs we will develop new conceptual perspectives by combining insights and methods from various fields. The results of the case and linkage-specific investigations will be synthesized to identify generalities and patterns among types of linkages and their impacts on resilience. The consequences of these insights for natural resources management will be assessed. The research is innovative in that it takes both ecological and social dynamics of SES into account using formal methods to achieve a systematic and rigorous assessment of factors determining resilience. The ontological framework and integration of concepts and modelling methods will open new opportunities for research of the sustainability of SES.
Field of science
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/natural resource management
Call for proposal
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