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Anatomy and resilience of the global production ecosystem
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3608-2426
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4105-6372
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0706-9233
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1617-4067
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2019 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 575, p. 98-108Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Much of the Earth's biosphere has been appropriated for the production of harvestable biomass in the form of food, fuel and fibre. Here we show that the simplification and intensification of these systems and their growing connection to international markets has yielded a global production ecosystem that is homogenous, highly connected and characterized by weakened internal feedbacks. We argue that these features converge to yield high and predictable supplies of biomass in the short term, but create conditions for novel and pervasive risks to emerge and interact in the longer term. Steering the global production ecosystem towards a sustainable trajectory will require the redirection of finance, increased transparency and traceability in supply chains, and the participation of a multitude of players, including integrated 'keystone actors' such as multinational corporations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 575, p. 98-108
National Category
Environmental Sciences Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176004DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1712-3ISI: 000496159900047PubMedID: 31695208OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176004DiVA, id: diva2:1370372
Available from: 2019-11-14 Created: 2019-11-14 Last updated: 2022-02-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Anthropocene Ocean: Risks and opportunities for global sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Anthropocene Ocean: Risks and opportunities for global sustainability
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humans have become a dominant force of planetary change. This epoch, referred to as the Anthropocene, implies profound alterations to the Earth’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems upon which so many people depend. In particular, the prospect of a new era of blue growth poses unprecedented sustainability and governance challenges for the ocean, as marine ecosystems face cumulative pressures from local human impacts, global climate change and distal socioeconomic drivers. Exploring what the Anthropocene means for the ocean and its capacity to support human societies in a sustainable and equitable way represents a critical challenge.

This thesis consists of five papers and relies on a mixed-methods approach that includes quantitative and qualitative analyses, transdisciplinary practices, literature reviews and knowledge syntheses. Paper I looks at the relative influence of anthropogenic and biophysical interactions in explaining the occurrence of multiple coral reef regimes across the Hawaiian archipelago. It highlights the nuances of what underpins different regimes and how a reef’s natural setting may either limit or favour successful management interventions. Paper II synthesises the diversity of ocean claims, reviews their impacts, and describes their trajectory as the blue acceleration – a new phase in humanity’s use of the ocean that exhibits a phenomenal rate of change over the last 30 years. Paper III builds on the identification of the world’s largest seafood corporations and reports on a global experiment to test whether these companies have an interest and ability to take on a leadership role for ocean stewardship. The study shows that scientists can play a critical role in this process by linking knowledge to action. Paper IV investigates how finance can promote seafood sustainability. It identifies where different financial mechanisms are most salient along a seafood firm’s development trajectory and discusses three leverage points that could redirect capital towards more sustainable practices: bank loans, stock exchange listing rules, and shareholder activism. Paper V introduces the global production ecosystem (GPE) as a framework that integrates multiple sectors across land and sea to explore the cumulative transformation of the Earth’s biosphere. It shows that the GPE is characterised by hyper-connectivity, global homogenisation and weak feedbacks, which erode resilience and create conditions for new risks to emerge and interact.

Collectively, the five papers suggest that the Anthropocene ocean may be as much about upwelling and parrotfish grazing as it is about bank loans and intensified crop monocultures. The thesis provides novel conceptual and mechanistic ways to link ecosystems to their distal socioeconomic drivers and offers a useful contribution to both academic and policy discussions on how to approach ocean sustainability in the 21st century.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2019. p. 67
Keywords
Anthropocene, Coral reef, Finance, Globalisation, Ocean, Resilience, Seafood, Social-ecological system, Sustainability, Transdisciplinarity, Transnational corporation
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176280 (URN)978-91-7797-929-6 (ISBN)978-91-7797-930-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-01-17, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2015-743
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2019-12-18 Created: 2019-11-27 Last updated: 2022-02-26Bibliographically approved

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Nyström, MagnusJouffray, Jean-BaptisteNorström, Albert V.Crona, BeatriceSøgaard Jørgensen, PeterBodin, ÖrjanGalaz, VictorFolke, Carl

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