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  • 1. Bai, Xuemei
    et al.
    Surveyer, Alyson
    Elmqvist, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Gatzweiler, Franz W.
    Guneralp, Burak
    Parnell, Susan
    Prieur-Richard, Anne-Helene
    Shrivastava, Paul
    Siri, Jose Gabriel
    Stafford-Smith, Mark
    Toussaint, Jean-Patrick
    Webb, Robert
    Defining and advancing a systems approach for sustainable cities2016In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 23, 69-78 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The sustainable development of cities is increasingly recognized as crucial to meeting collectively agreed sustainability goals at local, regional and global scales, and more broadly to securing human well-being worldwide. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a goal on cities (Goal 11), with most other goals and targets have urban applications and multi scalar implications for their implementation. Further, the interdependencies - including synergies and trade-offs among the various SDGs are greater in cities, presenting both challenges and opportunities. A systems approach is urgently needed in urban research and policy analysis, but such an approach rarely features in current analysis or urban decision-making for various reasons. This paper explores four questions: why a systems approach is necessary, what defines such an approach, why has this rarely been adopted in practice, and what can be done to promote its use. We argue that a systems approach can reveal unrecognized opportunities to maximize co-benefits and synergies, guide management of inevitable trade-offs, and therefore inform prioritisation and successful solutions. We present four key issues for the effective implementation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda, which emerged from UN Habitat III Conference, namely: (a) a radical redesign of the multilateral institutional setup on urban issues; (b) promoting regenerative culture, behaviour, and design; (c) exploring ways to finance a systems approach; and (d) a new and enhanced role for science in sustainable development. The latter issue could be addressed through Future Earth's Urban Knowledge-Action Network, which aims at co-designing and co-producing cutting-edge and actionable knowledge for sustainable cities bringing together researchers and urban decision-makers and practitioners.

  • 2. Biermann, Frank
    et al.
    Abbott, Kenneth
    Andresen, Steinar
    Backstrand, Karin
    Bernstein, Steven
    Betsill, Michele M.
    Bulkeley, Harriet
    Cashore, Benjamin
    Clapp, Jennifer
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Gupta, Aarti
    Gupta, Joyeeta
    Haas, Peter M.
    Jordan, Andrew
    Kanie, Norichika
    Kluvankova-Oravska, Tatiana
    Lebel, Louis
    Liverman, Diana
    Meadowcroft, James
    Mitchell, Ronald B.
    Newell, Peter
    Oberthur, Sebastian
    Olsson, Lennart
    Pattberg, Philipp
    Sanchez-Rodriguez, Roberto
    Schroeder, Heike
    Underdal, Arild
    Vieira, Susana Camargo
    Vogel, Coleen
    Young, Oran R.
    Brock, Andrea
    Zondervan, Ruben
    Transforming governance and institutions for global sustainability: key insights from the Earth System Governance Project2012In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 4, no 1, 51-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The current institutional framework for sustainable development is by far not strong enough to bring about the swift transformative progress that is needed. This article contends that incrementalism-the main approach since the 1972 Stockholm Conference-will not suffice to bring about societal change at the level and speed needed to mitigate and adapt to earth system transformation. Instead, the article argues that transformative structural change in global governance is needed, and that the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro must turn into a major stepping stone for a much stronger institutional framework for sustainable development. The article details core areas where urgent action is required. The article is based on an extensive social science assessment conducted by 32 members of the lead faculty, scientific steering committee, and other affiliates of the Earth System Governance Project. This Project is a ten-year research initiative under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), which is sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and the United Nations University (UNU).

  • 3. Buijs, Arjen E.
    et al.
    Mattijssen, Thomas J. M.
    Van der Jagt, Alexander P. N.
    Ambrose-Oji, Bianca
    Andersson, Erik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Elands, Birgit H. M.
    Moller, Maja Steen
    Active citizenship for urban green infrastructure: fostering the diversity and dynamics of citizen contributions through mosaic governance2016In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 22, 1-6 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Active citizens may contribute to the environmental, social, and institutional resilience of cities. This review discusses how citizen initiatives protect biodiversity hotspots, contribute to social cohesion, institutional innovation, and diversity in urban green space management. Challenges related to social inclusiveness, ecological connectivity and continuity suggest government involvement is pertinent, but needs to be refocused. To maximise environmental outcomes of active citizenship, governments may adopt an enabling and stimulating governance style that harnesses the transformative potential of active citizenship. This paper argues for mosaic governance to work with the heterogeneous array of people, institutions, and spatial practices associated with active citizenship. Mosaic governance aims for a context-sensitive way of urban green infrastructure planning, enhancing relationships between the diversity of landscapes and communities across cities.

  • 4. Carpenter, Stephen R.
    et al.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Norström, Albert
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Olsson, Olof
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schultz, Lisen
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Agarwal, Bina
    Balvanera, Patricia
    Campbell, Bruce
    Carlos Castilla, Juan
    Cramer, Wolfgang
    DeFries, Ruth
    Eyzaguirre, Pablo
    Hughes, Terry P.
    Polasky, Stephen
    Sanusi, Zainal
    Scholes, Robert
    Spierenburg, Marja
    Program on ecosystem change and society: an international research strategy for integrated social-ecological systems2012In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 4, no 1, 134-138 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), a new initiative within the ICSU global change programs, aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social-ecological systems, the services they generate, and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty. The vision of PECS is a world where human actions have transformed to achieve sustainable stewardship of social-ecological systems. The goal of PECS is to generate the scientific and policy-relevant knowledge of social-ecological dynamics needed to enable such a shift, including mitigation of poverty. PECS is a coordinating body for diverse independently funded research projects, not a funder of research. PECS research employs a range of transdisciplinary approaches and methods, with comparative, place-based research that is international in scope at the core.

  • 5. Costanza, Robert
    et al.
    van der Leeuw, Sander
    Hibbard, Kathy
    Aulenbach, Steve
    Brewer, Simon
    Burek, Michael
    Cornell, Sarah
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Crumley, Carole
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Dearing, John
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Graumlich, Lisa
    Hegmon, Michelle
    Heckbert, Scott
    Jackson, Stephen T.
    Kubiszewski, Ida
    Scarborough, Vernon
    Sinclair, Paul
    Sörlin, Sverker
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Steffen, Will
    Developing an Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE)2012In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 4, no 1, 106-114 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE) initiative is a global network of researchers and research projects with its International Program Office (IPO) now based at the Stockholm Resilience Center (SRC), Uppsala University, Arizona State University, Portland State University, and the Australian National University. Research linked to IHOPE demonstrates that Earth system changes in the past have been strongly associated with changes in the coupled human-environment system. IHOPE supports integrating knowledge and resources from the biophysical and the social sciences and the humanities to address analytical and interpretive issues associated with coupled human-earth system dynamics. This integration of human history and Earth system history is a timely and important task. Until recently, however, there have been few attempts at such integration. IHOPE will create frameworks that can be used to help achieve this integration. The overarching goal is to produce a rich understanding of the relationships between environmental and human processes over the past millennia. HOPE recognizes that one major challenge for reaching this goal is developing 'workable' terminology that can be accepted by scholars of all disciplines. The specific objectives for IHOPE are to identify slow and rapidly moving features of complex social-ecological systems, on local to continental spatial scales, which induce resilience, stress, or collapse in linked systems of humans in nature. These objectives will be reached by exploring innovative ways of conducting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science, including theory, case studies, and integrated modeling. Examples of projects underway to implement this initiative are briefly discussed.

  • 6. Diaz, Sandra
    et al.
    Demissew, Sebsebe
    Carabias, Julia
    Joly, Carlos
    Lonsdale, Mark
    Ash, Neville
    Larigauderie, Anne
    Adhikari, Jay Ram
    Arico, Salvatore
    Baldi, Andras
    Bartuska, Ann
    Baste, Ivar Andreas
    Bilgin, Adem
    Brondizio, Eduardo
    Chan, Kai M. A.
    Figueroa, Viviana Elsa
    Duraiappah, Anantha
    Fischer, Markus
    Hill, Rosemary
    Koetz, Thomas
    Leadley, Paul
    Lyver, Philip
    Mace, Georgina M.
    Martin-Lopez, Berta
    Okumura, Michiko
    Pacheco, Diego
    Pascual, Unai
    Perez, Edgar Selvin
    Reyers, Belinda
    Roth, Eva
    Saito, Osamu
    Scholes, Robert John
    Sharma, Nalini
    Tallis, Heather
    Thaman, Randolph
    Watson, Robert
    Yahara, Tetsukazu
    Hamid, Zakri Abdul
    Akosim, Callistus
    Al-Hafedh, Yousef
    Allahverdiyev, Rashad
    Amankwah, Edward
    Asah, Stanley T.
    Asfaw, Zemede
    Bartus, Gabor
    Brooks, L. Anathea
    Caillaux, Jorge
    Dalle, Gemedo
    Darnaedi, Dedy
    Driver, Amanda
    Erpul, Gunay
    Escobar-Eyzaguirre, Pablo
    Failler, Pierre
    Fouda, Ali Moustafa Mokhtar
    Fu, Bojie
    Gundimeda, Haripriya
    Hashimoto, Shizuka
    Homer, Floyd
    Lavorel, Sandra
    Lichtenstein, Gabriela
    Mala, William Armand
    Mandivenyi, Wadzanayi
    Matczak, Piotr
    Mbizvo, Carmel
    Mehrdadi, Mehrasa
    Metzger, Jean Paul
    Mikissa, Jean Bruno
    Moller, Henrik
    Mooney, Harold A.
    Mumby, Peter
    Nagendra, Harini
    Nesshover, Carsten
    Oteng-Yeboah, Alfred Apau
    Pataki, Gyoergy
    Roue, Marie
    Rubis, Jennifer
    Schultz, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Smith, Peggy
    Sumaila, Rashid
    Takeuchi, Kazuhiko
    Thomas, Spencer
    Verma, Madhu
    Yeo-Chang, Youn
    Zlatanova, Diana
    The IPBES Conceptual Framework - connecting nature and people2015In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 14, 1-16 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The first public product of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is its Conceptual Framework. This conceptual and analytical tool, presented here in detail, will underpin all IPBES functions and provide structure and comparability to the syntheses that IPBES will produce at different spatial scales, on different themes, and in different regions. Salient innovative aspects of the IPBES Conceptual Framework are its transparent and participatory construction process and its explicit consideration of diverse scientific disciplines, stakeholders, and knowledge systems, including indigenous and local knowledge. Because the focus on co-construction of integrative knowledge is shared by an increasing number of initiatives worldwide, this framework should be useful beyond IPBES, for the wider research and knowledge-policy communities working on the links between nature and people, such as natural, social and engineering scientists, policy-makers at different levels, and decision-makers in different sectors of society.

  • 7.
    Elmqvist, Thomas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Setala, H.
    Handel, S. N.
    van der Ploeg, S.
    Aronson, J.
    Blignaut, J. N.
    Gomez-Baggethun, E.
    Nowak, D. J.
    Kronenberg, J.
    de Groot, R.
    Benefits of restoring ecosystem services in urban areas2015In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 14, 101-108 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Cities are a key nexus of the relationship between people and nature and are huge centers of demand for ecosystem services and also generate extremely large environmental impacts. Current projections of rapid expansion of urban areas present fundamental challenges and also opportunities to design more livable, healthy and resilient cities (e.g. adaptation to climate change effects). We present the results of an analysis of benefits of ecosystem services in urban areas. Empirical analyses included estimates of monetary benefits from urban ecosystem services based on data from 25 urban areas in the USA, Canada, and China. Our results show that investing in ecological infrastructure in cities, and the ecological restoration and rehabilitation of ecosystems such as rivers, lakes, and woodlands occurring in urban areas, may not only be ecologically and socially desirable, but also quite often, economically advantageous, even based on the most traditional economic approaches.

  • 8. Fischer, Joern
    et al.
    Gardner, Toby A.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute.
    Bennett, Elena M.
    Balvanera, Patricia
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Carpenter, Stephen
    Daw, Tim
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Hill, Rosemary
    Hughes, Terry P.
    Luthe, Tobias
    Maass, Manuel
    Meacham, Megan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Peterson, Garry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Queiroz, Cibele
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Seppelt, Ralf
    Spierenburg, Marja
    Tenhunen, John
    Advancing sustainability through mainstreaming a social–ecological systems perspective2015In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 14, 144-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The concept of social-ecological systems is useful for understanding the interlinked dynamics of environmental and societal change. The concept has helped facilitate: (1) increased recognition of the dependence of humanity on ecosystems; (2) improved collaboration across disciplines, and between science and society; (3) increased methodological pluralism leading to improved systems understanding; and (4) major policy frameworks considering social-ecological interactions. Despite these advances, the potential of a social-ecological systems perspective to improve sustainability outcomes has not been fully realized. Key priorities are to: (1) better understand and govern social-ecological interactions between regions; (2) pay greater attention to long-term drivers; (3) better understand the interactions among power relations, justice, and ecosystem stewardship; and (4) develop a stronger science-society interface.

  • 9.
    Galaz, Victor
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biermann, Frank
    Crona, Beatrice
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Loorbach, Derk
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Olsson, Per
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Nilsson, Måns
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm Environment Institute.
    Allouche, Jeremy
    Persson, Åsa
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm Environment Institute.
    Reischl, Gunilla
    'Planetary boundaries' - exploring the challenges for global environmental governance2012In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 4, no 1, 80-87 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A range of studies from Earth system scientists argue that human activities drive multiple, interacting effects that cascade through the Earth system. Recent contributions state and quantify nine, interacting 'planetary boundaries' with possible threshold effects. This article provides an overview of the global governance challenges that follow from this notion of multiple, interacting and possibly non-linear 'planetary boundaries'. Here we discuss four interrelated global environmental governance challenges, as well as some possible ways to address them. The four identified challenges are related to, first, the interplay between Earth system science and global policies, and the implications of differences in risk perceptions in defining these boundaries; second, the capacity of international institutions to deal with individual 'planetary boundaries', as well as interactions between them; third, the role of international organizations in dealing with 'planetary boundaries' interactions; and fourth, the role of global governance in framing social ecological innovations.

  • 10. Graham, Nicholas A. J.
    et al.
    Cinner, Joshua E.
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Nyström, Magnus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Coral reefs as novel ecosystems: embracing new futures2014In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 7, 9-14 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The composition and functions of many ecosystems are changing, giving rise to the concept of novel ecosystems. Although some coral reefs are becoming non-coral systems, others are becoming novel coral-dominated ecosystems driven principally by differential species responses to climate change and other drivers, but also due to species range shifts at higher latitudes, and in some cases introduced species. Returning many coral reefs to pristine baselines is unrealistic, whereas embracing novel futures enables more pragmatic approaches to maintaining or re-building the dominance of corals. Coral reefs are changing in unprecedented ways, providing the impetus to improve our understanding of reef compositions that may dominate in the future, explore new management approaches, assess changes in ecosystem services, and investigate how human societies can adapt and respond to novel futures.

  • 11.
    Karlberg, Louise
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute.
    Hoff, Holger
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany.
    Flores-López, Francisco
    Matuschke, Ira
    Tackling biomass scarcity: from vicious to virtuous cycles in sub-Saharan Africa2015In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 15, 1-8 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Current adaptation strategies to biomass scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa tend to lock communities into vicious cycles of over-exploitation of biomass from forests and croplands, concurrent degradation and consequently even less biomass availability. One option to unlock these vicious cycles is demand side management, for example, substituting traditional biomass fuels with modern ones. At the same time, the supply of biomass and land productivity can be substantially increased, for instance by returning biomass to the soils. To ensure sustainable agricultural transformation and energy transition, there is a need for a greater focus on biomass scarcity, and specifically on the role of soils. National development strategies need to pay attention to the multiple uses of biomass and enable cross-sector collaboration, including more equal access to land and productive resources.

  • 12. Larigauderie, Anne
    et al.
    Prieur-Richard, Anne-Helene
    Mace, Georgina M.
    Lonsdale, Mark
    Mooney, Harold A.
    Brussaard, Lijbert
    Cooper, David
    Cramer, Wolfgang
    Daszak, Peter
    Diaz, Sandra
    Duraiappah, Anantha
    Elmqvist, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Faith, Daniel P.
    Jackson, Louise E.
    Krug, Cornelia
    Leadley, Paul W.
    Le Prestre, Philippe
    Matsuda, Hiroyuki
    Palmer, Margaret
    Perrings, Charles
    Pulleman, Mirjam
    Reyers, Belinda
    Rosa, Eugene A.
    Scholes, Robert J.
    Spehn, Eva
    Turner, B. L. , I I
    Yahara, Tetsukazu
    Biodiversity and ecosystem services science for a sustainable planet: the DIVERSITAS vision for 2012-202012In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 4, no 1, 101-105 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    DIVERSITAS, the international programme on biodiversity science, is releasing a strategic vision presenting scientific challenges for the next decade of research on biodiversity and ecosystem services: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Science for a Sustainable Planet. This new vision is a response of the biodiversity and ecosystem services scientific community to the accelerating loss of the components of biodiversity, as well as to changes in the biodiversity science-policy landscape (establishment of a Biodiversity Observing Network - GEO BON, of an Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - IPBES, of the new Future Earth initiative; and release of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020). This article presents the vision and its core scientific challenges.

  • 13. Maury, O.
    et al.
    Miller, K.
    Campling, L.
    Arrizabalaga, H.
    Aumont, O.
    Bodin, Örjan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Guillotreau, P.
    Hobday, A. J.
    Marsac, F.
    Suzuki, Z.
    Murtugudde, R.
    A global science-policy partnership for progress toward sustainability of oceanic ecosystems and fisheries2013In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 5, no 3-4, 314-319 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Oceanic ecosystems support livelihoods and supply food for hundreds of millions of people. But these ecosystems are deteriorating rapidly and many of the world's oceanic fisheries are in a precarious condition. In addition to well-known and pressing fishery management issues, economic globalization is connecting fisheries beyond the frontiers of the organizations responsible for their management and climate-associated changes are deeply modifying ecosystems, pushing them toward new states and no return situations. The status quo is not a sustainable option, and improved international governance is urgently needed to address this situation. Our proposition consists of an inclusive global science-policy process combining major improvements to the present governance systems, including new incentives for international cooperation and coordination, with an ambitious scientific program to help anticipate threats and opportunities and integrate complex information regarding long-term issues. It would constitute a major step toward sustainability.

  • 14. Pahl-Wostl, Claudia
    et al.
    Arthington, Angela
    Bogardi, Janos
    Bunn, Stuart E.
    Hoff, Holger
    Lebel, Louis
    Nikitina, Elena
    Palmer, Margaret
    Poff, LeRoy N.
    Richards, Keith
    Schlüter, Maja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Schulze, Roland
    St-Hilaire, Andre
    Tharme, Rebecca
    Tockner, Klement
    Tsegai, Daniel
    Environmental flows and water governance: managing sustainable water uses2013In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 5, no 3-4, 341-351 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Human water security is often achieved with little consideration of environmental consequences and, even when these are acknowledged, the trade-offs between human and environmental water needs are increasing in frequency and amplitude on the increase. The environmental flows concept has continued to evolve in response to these challenges. However, the field is characterized by a limited transferability of insights, due to the prevalence of specific case-study analyses and a lack of research on the governance of environmental flows. Building on recent advances in environmental flow science, water governance and management, we identify a clear need for a more systematic approach to the determination of environmental flow requirements (EFRs) on both the natural and social science fronts and, in particular, on the interaction between social/political and environmental systems. We suggest a framework that details as to how these advances and interactions can be achieved. The framework supports scientific analysis and practical implementation of EFRs involving systematic compilation, sharing and evaluation of experiences from different riverine ecosystems and governance systems around the globe. The concept of ecosystem services is introduced into the framework to raise awareness for the importance of ecosystem functions for the resilience of social-ecological systems, to support negotiation of trade-offs and development of strategies for adaptive implementation. Experience in implementation of environmental flow policies reveals the need for an engaged, transdisciplinary research approach where research is closely linked to implementation initiatives on the ground. We advocate that this is more effective at building the foundations for sustainable water management.

  • 15. Pahl-Wostl, Claudia
    et al.
    Voeroesmarty, Charles
    Bhaduri, Anik
    Bogardi, Janos
    Rockström, Johan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Alcamo, Joseph
    Towards a sustainable water future: shaping the next decade of global water research2013In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 5, no 6, 708-714 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Over a decade of global water research has provided clear evidence on the global dimension of the water challenge and the role of humans as a chief force shaping the global water cycle. Mounting evidence suggests no reversals in major trends and an expectation of intensified and pandemic water problems. Research in the past has emphasized the identification of problems more than the identification of solutions. A clear shift in emphasis towards solutions-oriented approaches is required. The next decade of research should be directed towards motivating a transition from knowledge-to-concrete action, and to find solutions through the co-production of knowledge involving scientists and stakeholders. This paper summarizes a blueprint for a Sustainable Water Future initiative, arguing for the necessity of a strong water programme in global change research. We provide specific suggestions on forming a strategic partnership of scientists, public stakeholders, decision-makers and the private sector to implement a reality-based, multiperspective, and multi-scale knowledge-to-action water agenda.

  • 16.
    Peterson, Garry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Linking biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being: three challenges for designing research for sustainability2015In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 14, 76-85 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Ecosystem services have become a mainstream concept for the expression of values assigned by people to various functions of ecosystems. Even though the introduction of the concept has initiated a vast amount of research, progress in using this knowledge for sustainable resource use remains insufficient. We see a need to broaden the scope of research to answer three key questions that we believe will improve incorporation of ecosystem service research into decision-making for the sustainable use of natural resources to improve human well-being: (i) how are ecosystem services co-produced by social–ecological systems, (ii) who benefits from the provision of ecosystem services, and (iii) what are the best practices for the governance of ecosystem services? Here, we present these key questions, the rationale behind them, and their related scientific challenges in a globally coordinated research programme aimed towards improving sustainable ecosystem management. These questions will frame the activities of ecoSERVICES, formerly a DIVERSITAS project and now a project of Future Earth, in its role as a platform to foster global coordination of multidisciplinary sustainability science through the lens of ecosystem services.

  • 17. Scholes, R. J.
    et al.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) - South Africa.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Spierenburg, M. J.
    Duriappah, A.
    Multi-scale and cross-scale assessments of social-ecological systems and their ecosystem services2013In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 5, no 1, 16-25 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is often either undesirable or unfeasible to conduct an assessment of ecological or social systems, independently or jointly, at a single scale and resolution in time and space. This paper outlines the alternatives, which include 'multi-scale assessments' (conducting the assessment at two or more discrete scales) and 'cross-scale assessments' (multi-scale assessments which deliberately look for cross-scale interactions), and points to some methods which may be useful in conducting them. The additional work and complexity that result from taking a multi-scale or cross-scale approach, while necessary and realistic, needs to be managed. This can be achieved by the informed choice of scales, a priori consideration of the scale-related properties of the phenomena being assessed, and paying attention to the ways in which information and control pass between scales. The conceptual issues associated with choosing the scales and resolutions at which to work are discussed, as are strategies for aggregation and disaggregation and for linking studies at different scales.

  • 18. Sitas, Nadia
    et al.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa.
    Cundill, Georgina
    Prozesky, Heidi E.
    Nel, Jeanne L.
    Esler, Karen J.
    Fostering collaboration for knowledge and action in disaster management in South Africa2016In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 19, 94-102 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Engaging diverse stakeholders in collaborative processes to integrate environmental information into decision making is important, but challenging. It requires working at and across the boundaries between knowledge types - a complex milieu of different value systems, norms, and mental models - and multiple stakeholder-engagement processes which facilitate knowledge exchange and co-production. Using a qualitative, inductive approach, we analysed perceptions and outputs of a transdisciplinary project which aimed to generate new knowledge, awareness and action for ecosystem-based disaster management in South Africa. Several obstacles that could potentially undermine the project's objectives were identified, including: preconceived assumptions; entrenched disciplinary thinking; and confusing terminology. Enabling factors included efforts to ensure project co-creation and the use of knowledge brokers in promoting systems thinking that is grounded in practice.

  • 19.
    Steffen, Will
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Australian National University, Australia.
    Smith, Mark Stafford
    Planetary boundaries, equity and global sustainability: why wealthy countries could benefit from more equity2013In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 5, no 3-4, 403-408 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The planetary boundaries concept, which aims to define a safe operating space for humanity within the dynamics of the Earth System, has often been criticised on the basis of a presumed conflict between global equity and environmental sustainability goals. However, a re-analysis of the equity-environmental sustainability relationship suggests that significant synergies can be developed to build a more unified approach for working towards global sustainability. The synergies are especially strong for those planetary boundaries based on processes that are aggregated from very heterogeneous distributions at sub-global levels. It is possible to address the biophysical aspects of these boundaries from an Earth System perspective in ways that often may be, and sometimes must be, compatible with enhancing many aspects of social equity. Furthermore, it may well be in the self-interest of wealthy nations to achieve a more spatially equitable world in terms of access to resources and ecosystem services. Combining social equity considerations with the biophysical planetary boundaries approach may therefore constitute a necessary, and perhaps even sufficient, condition for achieving global sustainability.

  • 20. Swaney, Dennis P.
    et al.
    Hong, Bongghi
    Ti, Chaopu
    Howarth, Robert W.
    Humborg, Christoph
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Net anthropogenic nitrogen inputs to watersheds and riverine N export to coastal waters: a brief overview2012In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 4, no 2, 203-211 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, watershed-scale nutrient accounting methods have been developed which provide a simple yet powerful approach to estimate major anthropogenic sources of nutrients to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. For nitrogen (N), 'anthropogenic sources' include fertilizer, atmospheric N deposition, N fixation by plants (e.g. legumes), and the net import or export of N in human food and livestock feed, and are collectively referred to as Net Anthropogenic Nitrogen Inputs (NANI). Since the development of industrial N-fixing processes early in the 20th century, anthropogenic N inputs have grown to dominate the global N cycle, and have become the main sources of N in most watersheds affected by humans. It is now clear that riverine N transport from human-influenced watersheds to coastal waters is strongly related to NANI, as well as to hydroclimatic variables (precipitation, discharge, temperature) that can affect the amount of N retained in or removed from watersheds. Potential implications for increased N load from NANI include increased eutrophication, loss of species diversity and habitat, and growth of hypoxic areas ('dead zones') in coastal waters.

  • 21. Takeuchi, Kazuhiko
    et al.
    Ichikawa, Kaoru
    Elmqvist, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Satoyama landscape as social-ecological system: historical changes and future perspective2016In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 19, 30-39 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many production landscapes around the world have been sustained through appropriate use and management of natural resources, but many are now facing overuse or underuse. This paper explores future perspectives on the satoyama landscape (traditional Japanese rural landscape) as a social-ecological system through an overview of its transformation. Two phases in the human-nature relationship are observed: before the fossil fuel revolution of the late 1950s, people maintained a direct relationship with nature, and the landscape was integrally managed through community cooperation to avoid overuse; then, after the late 1950s, inflow of goods and services from outside and outflow of the population resulted in underuse of natural resources, and the human-nature relationship became weakened and more indirect. Rebuilding the human-nature relationship in the present day calls for efforts that go beyond the local level toward cross-scale, connected and coupled social-ecological systems.

  • 22. van den Bergh, Jeroen
    et al.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Polasky, Stephen
    Scheffer, Marten
    Steffen, Will
    What if solar energy becomes really cheap? A thought experiment on environmental problem shifting2015In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 14, 170-179 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Solving one environmental problem may often invoke or intensify another one. Such environmental problem shifting (EPS) is a neglected topic in global sustainability research. Indeed, it is difficult to study as it requires the merging of insights from various research areas. Here we identify relevant studies, and provide an illustration and guidelines for the systematic study of EPS. As a modest thought experiment to illustrate the relevance of EPS, we consider solutions to scarcity of energy resources and climate change that, due to their extreme nature, may lead to considerable environmental problem shifting. We qualitatively assess the likely environmental and socioeconomic impacts of three hypothetical energy futures to highlight the possibility that as we resolve one environmental problem, another may be aggravated. We further present a set of guidelines to study EPS in a systematic and focused way. Here we stress that shifting can be mediated by biophysical as well as socioeconomic mechanisms, which means that its analysis requires a genuine interdisciplinary effort.

  • 23.
    Vuuren, D.P. van
    et al.
    Utrecht University, Department of Geosciences, The Netherlands.
    Nakicenovic, N.
    Vienna University of Technology, Austria.
    Riahi, K.
    Graz University of Technology, Austria.
    Nilsson, Måns
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm Environment Institute.
    An energy vision: the transformation towards sustainability — interconnected challenges and solutions2012In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, ISSN 1877-3435, Vol. 4, no 1, 18-34 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The energy system is currently facing a number of challenges, most notably high consumption levels, lack of energy access, environmental concerns like climate change and air pollution, energy security concerns and the need for a long-term focus. Addressing these critical issues simultaneously will require a fundamental transformation of the global energy system. Recent assessments show that such transformational pathways are achievable in technological and economic terms, but constitute formidable governance challenges across scales. In this paper, we discuss a long-term vision for the energy system and elements of the transition towards this vision. This transformation would need to be based on several key components, including taking an integrated approach as basis, the focus on high levels of energy efficiency and the scale up of investments, also in RD&D.

1 - 23 of 23
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