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How on Earth?: Operationalizing the ecosystem service concept for sustainability
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1660-4514
2021 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Production landscapes are at the center of many of the sustainability challenges that we face. The ecosystem service concept has risen in prominence over the last decades as a tool to support sustainable landscape management. Stewardship has been suggested as an approach that individuals and groups of actors can practice when striving for sustainability in complex situations. In this thesis, I explore how the ecosystem service concept can be used as a tool to support the stewardship practices of various local actors who are engaging in sustainable landscape management. The core of this thesis is a participatory resilience assessment conducted together with a diverse group of actors, all involved in different forms of landscape management in the Helgeå catchment in Southern Sweden. In Paper I, I describe the participatory ecosystem service bundles analysis that was part of the process. In Paper II, I describe the process as a whole and show how participating supported learning and articulation of complexity thinking. In Paper III, I compare this process with three other knowledge co-production processes from the Helgeå catchment, and trace how different theoretical approaches led to both similar and diverging ecosystem service knowledge outputs. Finally, in Paper IV, I use a photo elicitation exercise to articulate different narratives of how sense of home motivates private, non-industrial forest owners in the Helgeå catchment to engage in stewardship practice.

Together, these four papers show that the ecosystem service concept can support sustainability by facilitating knowledge co-production processes about complex challenges in landscape management. In such settings, it can function as a pedagogical tool and bridging concept. For participating civil servants, ecosystem service knowledge and terminology were also used strategically when communicating with actors in their own organizations, effectively influencing their situated agency to practice stewardship. Finally, the ecosystem service concept has the potential to be useful in the dialogue between private land owners and other actors. However, some pathways to stewardship, such as those rooted in a sense for history and community, would be better represented by other, more relational human-nature conceptualizations. This means that while the operationalization of the ecosystem service concept can contribute to stewardship practices in pursuit of sustainability, there are also important limitations that need to be taken into account in each context of use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2021. , p. 76
Keywords [en]
Ecosystem services, Stewardship, Resilience thinking, Knowledge co-production, Landscape management, Learning
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use Other Natural Sciences Learning
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-196673ISBN: 978-91-7911-608-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7911-609-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-196673DiVA, id: diva2:1593176
Public defence
2021-10-27, sal P216, NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 A, and online via Zoom, public link is available at the department website, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-10-04 Created: 2021-09-10 Last updated: 2021-11-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Operationalizing ecosystem service bundles for strategic sustainability planning: A participatory approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operationalizing ecosystem service bundles for strategic sustainability planning: A participatory approach
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2021 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, E-ISSN 1654-7209, Vol. 50, p. 314-331Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ecosystem service concept is recognized as a useful tool to support sustainability in decision-making. In this study, we collaborated with actors in the Helge a catchment, southern Sweden, in an iterative participatory ecosystem service assessment. Through workshops and interviews, we jointly decided which ecosystem services to assess and indicators to use in order to achieve a sense of ownership and a higher legitimacy of the assessment. Subsequently, we explored the landscape-level interactions between the 15 assessed services, and found that the area can be described using three distinct ecosystem service bundles. The iterative, participatory process strengthened our analysis and created a shared understanding and overview of the multifunctional landscape around Helge a among participants. Importantly, this allowed for the generated knowledge to impact local strategic sustainability planning. With this study, we illustrate how similar processes can support local decision-making for a more sustainable future.

Keywords
Co-production of knowledge, Decision-support, Ecosystem service bundles, Multifunctional landscapes, Participatory methods, Social-ecological systems
National Category
Environmental Engineering Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-186371 (URN)10.1007/s13280-020-01378-w (DOI)000570830100002 ()32948985 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2020-11-19 Created: 2020-11-19 Last updated: 2022-02-25Bibliographically approved
2. Embracing complexity in landscape management: Learning and impacts of a participatory resilience assessment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Embracing complexity in landscape management: Learning and impacts of a participatory resilience assessment
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
Co-production of knowledge; Complex adaptive systems; Ecosystem services; Landscape management; Learning; Resilience thinking
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-196657 (URN)
Available from: 2021-09-09 Created: 2021-09-09 Last updated: 2022-02-25
3. Knowledge co-production in the Helgeå catchment: A comparative analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Knowledge co-production in the Helgeå catchment: A comparative analysis
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keywords
Futures methods; Ecosystem services; Landscape management; Participatory methods; Process evaluation
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-196666 (URN)
Available from: 2021-09-10 Created: 2021-09-10 Last updated: 2022-02-25
4. Narratives of sense of home and stewardship practice among forest owners in Southern Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Narratives of sense of home and stewardship practice among forest owners in Southern Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-196668 (URN)
Available from: 2021-09-10 Created: 2021-09-10 Last updated: 2022-02-25

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Malmborg, Katja

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