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  • 1.
    Dawson, Lucas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Unravelling Sustainability: The complex dynamics of emergent environmental governance and management systems at multiple scales2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis adopts a complex systems approach to investigate the dynamic emergence of sustainable environmental governance and management systems in multiple contexts in Europe. Accelerating rates of environmental degradation across the world have called the legitimacy of previous environmental governance and management arrangements into question. Top-down, linear optimisation approaches have failed to account for the inherent complexity of social-ecological systems, upon which human society is entirely reliant for long-term survival. Systemic interdependence between ecological and human systems underscores the “wicked” nature of environmental problems, which are characterised by multi-dimensional values and competing interests among stakeholders and actors at multiple levels and across divergent spatial and temporal scales. Sustainability objectives therefore mandate the evolution of new environmental governance and management systems that are capable of engaging with complexity and dynamism. Employing a methodology based on comprehensive literature assessment, case studies and qualitative systems modelling methods, this thesis clearly identifies the structurally complex systems within which studied environmental governance and management arrangements took place. However, the degree to which these systems indicated the emergence of integrated and/or adaptive approaches, proposed by recent sustainability theories, was more uneven across governance levels and contexts. Key constraints related to the continued dominance of top-down institutional and regulatory frameworks, the availability of adequate inputs (primarily financial) for new approaches and initiatives, socio-cultural influences, and to the complexity and concomitant uncertainty of social-ecological system dynamics. Identified opportunities from across cases related to supra-national institutions, a shift of value preferences amongst stakeholders, and the perverse opportunities arising from chronic environmental degradation and/or acute social/ecological crises. Strategies enabling emergent governance and management approaches included strengthening the legitimacy of new actors, actively managing and integrating the perceptions of stakeholders, learning by doing and sharing, and recruiting and enabling active, hybridised leadership. Importantly, key constraints and opportunities remain largely out of reach for actors and stakeholders at lower levels. Feedback mechanisms by which bottom-up initiatives can influence higher level institutional development are lacking, poorly understood, or are dominated by long delays. These dynamics impede sustainability transitions.

  • 2.
    Dawson, Lucas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Elbakidze, Marine
    Angelstam, Per
    Gordon, Johanna
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Governance and management dynamics of landscape restoration at multiple scales: Learning from successful environmental managers in Sweden2017In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 197, p. 24-40Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Due to a long history of intensive land and water use, habitat networks for biodiversity conservation are generally degraded in Sweden. Landscape restoration (LR) is an important strategy for achieving representative and functional green infrastructures. However, outcomes of LR efforts are poorly studied, particularly the dynamics of LR governance and management. We apply systems thinking methods to a series of LR case studies to analyse the causal structures underlying LR governance and management in Sweden. We show that these structures appear to comprise of an interlinked system of at least three sets of drivers and four core processes. This system exhibits many characteristics of a transformative change towards an integrated, adaptive approach to governance and management. Key challenges for Swedish LR projects relate to institutional and regulatory flexibility, the timely availability of sufficient funds, and the management of learning and knowledge production processes. In response, successful project leaders develop several key strategies to manage complexity and risk, and enhance perceptions of the attractiveness of LR projects.

  • 3.
    Dawson, Lucas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Elbakidze, Marine
    Schellens, Marie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Shkaruba, Anton
    Angelstam, Per
    Bogs, Birds and Berries in Belarus: the multi-scale dynamics of wetlands sustainability initiatives in a top-down contextManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Wetlands are complex social-ecological systems, which provide both important habitat for species, and multiple ecosystem services for people. This diversity of perspectives places new demands on multi-level and multi-sector participation in governance and management arrangements for conservation, sustainable use and restoration. How can sustainable wetlands be achieved and managed in strong top-down governance contexts, such as in former Soviet republics? Using three case studies relating to wetland restoration (bogs), conservation (birds) and wild food production (berries) in Belarus, this study employs a complex systems approach to analyse core governance and management processes underpinning wetlands sustainability initiatives in Belarus. We identified five processes, viz. adequacy of plans and planning processes, garnering stakeholder support, the adequacy of several types of key inputs, management of activity rates, and the integration of adaptive learning and knowledge cycles. Although path dependent societal dynamics of the (post-)Soviet era continue to influence wetland systems, windows of opportunity precipitated the emergence of active participation among non-governmental actors. Major opportunities were identification of confluences of interest amongst stakeholders, as well as continued mutual integration of Belarus with the international community. Key constraints concerned institutional hierarchies, onerous regulations, “negativism”, and financing difficulties. Key strategies relating to perception management, risk mitigation, and learning are identified for reinforcing positive feedback loops relating to core processes.

  • 4.
    Dawson, Lucas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Persson, Klas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Balfors, Berit
    Mörtberg, Ulla
    Jarsjö, Jerker
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Impacts of the water framework directive on learning and knowledge practices in a Swedish catchment2018In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 223, p. 731-742Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Catchments are complex social-ecological systems involving multiple, and often competing, interests. Water governance and management regimes are increasingly embracing pluralistic, participatory, and holistic norms as a means to engage with issues of complexity, uncertainty, and value-conflicts. Integrated, participatory approaches are theoretically linked to improved learning amongst stakeholders across sectors and decision-making that is grounded in shared knowledge, experiences and scientific evidence. However, few studies have empirically examined the impacts of an integrated approach to learning and knowledge practices related to water resources. Here, a Swedish sub-catchment that has adopted such an approach in association with implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) is examined. Interview-based analyses show that WFD implementation has both helped and hindered learning and knowledge practices surrounding both water planning and spatial planning. Whilst communities of practice have developed in the study area, a number of important challenges remain. These include the rigid goal-orientation of the WFD, the fragmentation of knowledge caused by an over-reliance on external consultants, as well as a lack of resources to synthesise information from multiple sources. Present results raise questions regarding the efficacy of the WFD to sufficiently enable the development of learning and knowledge practices capable of handling the complexity, uncertainties and value-conflicts facing catchments in Sweden and elsewhere.

  • 5.
    Dawson, Lucas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Schlyter, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Less is more: Strategic scale site suitability for concentrated solar thermal power in Western Australia2012In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, Vol. 47, p. 91-101Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP) represents a technology with a great deal of promise for low-emissions electricity generation. Several recent studies have identified large swathes of the world's 'sunbelt' as technically suitable for the technology, but current estimates grossly overestimate site suitability for CSP. There is a need for more realistic suitability estimations in order to provide a more accurate basis for policy and investment decisions. This paper establishes a generally applicable GIS-based methodology to better enable identification of CSP-suitable sites at the continental scale. We test the methodology, identifying a large number of CSP suitable sites in Western Australia (WA). Our results indicate a 99.4% reduction from technically suitable areas to areas showing medium-to-very-high suitability in the current and near term in WA. The availability of infrastructure is critical to site suitability and the introduction of new major loads and infrastructure in currently under-developed regions is likely to open up further areas with medium to very high suitability. Despite the fact that current global/continental scale estimates of CSP potentials are likely overestimated by at least two orders of magnitude, truly CSP-suitable areas remain more than sufficient to motivate investment in utility-scale CSP and power potentials from this technology remain enormous.

  • 6. Elbakidze, Marine
    et al.
    Angelstam, Per
    Dawson, Lucas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Shushkova, Alena
    Naumov, Vladimir
    Rendenieks, Zigmārs
    Liepa, Liga
    Trasūne, Laura
    Ustsin, Uladzimir
    Yurhenson, Natalia
    Uhlianets, Siarhei
    Manton, Michael
    Irbe, Austra
    Yermokhin, Maxim
    Grebenzshikova, Aleksandra
    Zhivotov, Anton
    Nestsiarenka, Marharyta
    Towards Functional Green Infrastructure in the Baltic Sea Region: Knowledge Production and Learning Across Borders2018In: Ecosystem Services from Forest Landscapes: Broadscale Considerations / [ed] Ajith H. Perera, Urmas Peterson, Guillermo Martínez Pastur, Louis R. Iverson, Cham: Springer, 2018, p. 57-87Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Natural capital is the foundation for delivering multiple ecosystem services important for biodiversity and human wellbeing. Functional green infrastructure (GI) is one of the land management approaches to secure the sustainable use of natural capital. This chapter presents the outcomes of a integrative research for knowledge production and learning towards functional GI in the Baltic Sea Region. The overview of attempts to develop functional GI in Sweden, Latvia, Belarus and the Russian Federation, the countries with different contexts, illustrates similar sets of challenges in the maintenance of GI functions for both biodiversity and human wellbeing. The main challenges are (1) sustaining sufficient amounts of representative ecosystems with functional connectivity, (2) maintaining land management practices that support natural and seminatural areas important for human wellbeing and (3) development of stakeholder cross-sectoral collaboration laboratories towards a sustainable use of ecosystem services across the Baltic Sea Region. To deal with these challenges, there are at least five main sets of opportunities: (1) favourable international policies towards functional GI, (2) the abundance of applied knowledge in biodiversity conservation needed for GI’s integrated spatial planning, (3) existing landscape approach initiatives with rich experience in sustainable management and governance of landscapes, (4) the potential of landscape restoration projects and (5) transdisciplinary research projects that have been practised in the Baltic Sea Region. Stakeholders have much to gain from increased multilateral, learning-based collaborations regarding all aspects of sustainable forest landscapes. Such collaborations could serve as laboratories for cross-border governance and management in the Baltic Sea Region.

  • 7. Elbakidze, Marine
    et al.
    Angelstam, Per
    Yamelynets, Taras
    Dawson, Lucas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Gebrehiwot, Mersha
    Stryamets, Nataliya
    Johansson, Karl-Erik
    Garrido, Pablo
    Naumov, Vladimir
    Manton, Michael
    A bottom-up approach to map land covers as potential green infrastructure hubs for human well-being in rural settings: A case study from Sweden2017In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 168, p. 72-83Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Green infrastructure (GI) policy encourages the spatial planning of natural and semi-natural areas to deliver biodiversity conservation and a wide range of ecosystem services (ES) important to human well-being. Much of the current literature relies on expert-led and top-down processes to investigate connections between landscapes' different land covers and ES. Little is known regarding the preferences of residents, and how they connect land covers with the delivery of ES important for their well-being. The aim of this study is to identify and locate such land cover types as GI that provide multiple ES important for human well-being in rural settings. First, we interviewed 400 urban and rural residents to identify ES important for personal well-being and the land covers that deliver multiple ES in three counties that best represent the existing rural-urban gradient in Sweden. Second, to support the inclusion of GI in spatial planning, we identified and located spatial concentrations of individual land covers providing multiple ES (GI hubs) and significant clusters of such land covers (GI hotspots). The majority of urban and rural respondents associated their well-being with lakes, mountains above the tree line, old-growth forests, wooded-pastures, mature pine forests and rural farmsteads. The areal proportion of each type of hub was low, on average 3.5%. At least three land management strategies are needed to sustain GI hubs: maintenance of the composition, structure and function of natural ecosystems in protected areas; support for traditional agroforestry and villages as social-ecological systems; and diversification of the current intensive forest management approach.

  • 8. Elbakidze, Marine
    et al.
    Dawson, Lucas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Andersson, Kjell
    Axelsson, Robert
    Angelstam, Per
    Stjernquist, Ingrid
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Teitelbaum, Sara
    Schlyter, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Thellbro, Camilla
    Is spatial planning a collaborative learning process? A case study from a rural-urban gradient in Sweden2015In: Land use policy, ISSN 0264-8377, E-ISSN 1873-5754, Vol. 48, p. 270-285Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    International and national policies stress the importance of spatial planning for the long-term sustainability of regions. This paper identifies the extent to which the spatial planning in a Swedish region can be characterised as a collaborative learning process. By combining qualitative interviews and systems thinking methods we analysed the main attributes of public-led spatial (i.e. comprehensive) planning in nine municipalities representing a steep urban-rural gradient in the Bergslagen region of Central Sweden. We show that the attributes of strategic spatial planning needed for collaborative learning were absent or undeveloped. All studied municipalities experienced challenges in coordinating complex issues regarding long-term planning to steer territorial development and help to solve conflicts among competing interests. Stakeholder participation was identified as a basic condition for social learning in planning. Together with stakeholders we identified the causal structure behind stakeholder participation in municipal planning processes, including main drivers and feedback loops. We conclude that there is a need for arenas allowing and promoting stakeholder activity, participation and inclusion that combines both bottom-up and top-down approaches, and where evidence-based collaborative learning can occur.

  • 9. Elbakidze, Marine
    et al.
    Hahn, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Dawson, Lucas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Zimmermann, N. E.,
    Cudlín, P.
    Friberg, N.
    Genovesi, P.
    Guarino, R.
    Helm, A.
    Jonsson, B.
    Lengyel, S.
    Leroy, B.
    Luzzati, T.
    Milbau, A.
    Pérez-Ruzafa, A.
    Roche, P.
    Roy, H.
    Sabyrbekov, R.
    Vanbergen, A.
    Vandvik, Vigdis
    Direct and indirect drivers of change in biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people2018In: The IPBES regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia / [ed] M. Rounsevell, M. Fischer, A. Torre-Marin Rando, A. Mader, Bonn, Germany: Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services , 2018, p. 385-568Chapter in book (Refereed)
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