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  • 1. Bennett, Elena M.
    et al.
    Solan, Martin
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, Australia.
    McPhearson, Timon
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Olsson, Per
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Pereira, Laura
    Peterson, Garry D.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Raudsepp-Hearne, Ciara
    Biermann, Frank
    Carpenter, Stephen R.
    Ellis, Erle C.
    Hichert, Tanja
    Galaz, Victor
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Lahsen, Myanna
    Milkoreit, Manjana
    López, Berta Martin
    Nicholas, Kimberly A.
    Preiser, Rika
    Vince, Gaia
    Vervoort, Joost M.
    Xu, Jianchu
    Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene2016In: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, ISSN 1540-9295, E-ISSN 1540-9309, Vol. 14, no 8, p. 441-448Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The scale, rate, and intensity of humans' environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overly optimistic utopias and business-as-usual scenarios that lack insight and innovation, frustrate progress. Here, we present a novel approach to thinking about the future that builds on experiences drawn from a diversity of practices, worldviews, values, and regions that could accelerate the adoption of pathways to transformative change (change that goes beyond incremental improvements). Using an analysis of 100 initiatives, or seeds of a good Anthropocene, we find that emphasizing hopeful elements of existing practice offers the opportunity to: (1) understand the values and features that constitute a good Anthropocene, (2) determine the processes that lead to the emergence and growth of initiatives that fundamentally change human-environmental relationships, and (3) generate creative, bottom-up scenarios that feature well-articulated pathways toward a more positive future.

  • 2. Biggs, Duan
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette (Oonsie)
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Dakos, Vasilis
    Scholes, Robert J.
    Schoon, Michael
    Are We Entering an Era of Concatenated Global Crises?2011In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 16, no 2, p. 10-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    An increase in the frequency and intensity of environmental crises associated with accelerating human-induced global change is of substantial concern to policy makers. The potential impacts, especially on the poor, are exacerbated in an increasingly connected world that enables the emergence of crises that are coupled in time and space. We discuss two factors that can interact to contribute to such an increased concatenation of crises: (1) the increasing strength of global vs. local drivers of change, so that changes become increasingly synchronized; and (2) unprecedented potential for the propagation of crises, and an enhanced risk of management interventions in one region becoming drivers elsewhere, because of increased connectivity. We discuss the oil-food-financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 as an example of a concatenated crisis with origin and ultimate impacts in far removed parts of the globe. The potential for a future of concatenated shocks requires adaptations in science and governance including (a) an increased tolerance of uncertainty and surprise, (b) strengthening capacity for early detection and response to shocks, and (c) flexibility in response to enable adaptation and learning.

  • 3.
    Biggs, Reinette
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Blenckner, Thorsten
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Gordon, Line
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Norström, Albert
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Peterson, Garry
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Regime Shifts2011In: Sourcebook in Theoretical Ecology / [ed] A Hastings, L Gross, University of California Press, 2011Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Biggs, Reinette
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Crépin, Ann-Sophie
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Engström, Gustav
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Kautsky, Nils
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
    Walker, Brian
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia.
    General Resilience to Cope with Extreme Events2012In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 4, no 12, p. 3248-3259Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

     Resilience to specified kinds of disasters is an active area of research and practice. However, rare or unprecedented disturbances that are unusually intense or extensive require a more broad-spectrum type of resilience. General resilience is the capacity of social-ecological systems to adapt or transform in response to unfamiliar, unexpected and extreme shocks. Conditions that enable general resilience include diversity, modularity, openness, reserves, feedbacks, nestedness, monitoring, leadership, and trust. Processes for building general resilience are an emerging and crucially important area of research.

  • 5.
    Biggs, Reinette
    et al.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Diebel, Matthew W.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Gilroy, David
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Kamarainen, Amy M.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Kornis, Matthew S.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Preston, Nicholas D
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Schmitz, Jennifer E.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Uejio, Christopher K.
    Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Van De Bogert, Matthew C.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Weidel, Brian C.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    West, Paul C.
    The Nature Conservancy, Madison.
    Zaks, David PM.
    Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Carpenter, Stephen R.
    Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
    Preparing for the future: teaching scenario planning at the graduate level2010In: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, ISSN 1540-9295, Vol. 8, no 5, p. 267-273Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Are environmental science students developing the mindsets and obtaining the tools needed to help address the considerable challenges posed by the 21st century? Today's major environmental issues are characterized by high-stakes decisions and high levels of uncertainty. Although traditional scientific approaches are valuable, contemporary environmental issues also require new tools and new ways of thinking. We provide an example of how such new, or “post-normal”, approaches have been taught at the graduate level, through practical application of scenario planning. Surveyed students reported that they found the scenario planning course highly stimulating, thought-provoking, and inspiring. Key learning points included recognizing the need for multiple points of view when considering complex environmental issues, and better appreciating the pervasiveness of uncertainty. Collaborating with non-academic stakeholders was also particularly helpful. Most students left the course feeling more positive about the potential contribution they can make in addressing the environmental challenges that society faces.

    Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/080075

  • 6.
    Biggs, Reinette Oonsie
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stanebosch University, South Africa.
    Peterson, Gary D.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Rocha, Juan Carlos
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    The Regime Shifts Database: A Framework for Analyzing Regime Shifts in Social-Ecological SystemsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents the Regime Shifts Database (RSDB), a new online, open-access database that uses a novel consistent framework to systematically analyze regime shifts based on their impacts, key drivers, underlying feedbacks, and management options. The database currently contains 27 generic types of regime shifts, and over 300 specific case studies of a variety of regime shifts. These regime shifts occur across diverse types of systems and are driven by many different types of processes. Besides impacting provisioning and regulating services, our work shows that regime shifts substantially impact cultural and aesthetic ecosystem services. We found that social-ecological feedbacks are difficult to characterize and more work is needed to develop new tools and approaches to better understand social-ecological regime shifts. We hope that the database will stimulate further research on regime shifts and make available information that can be used in management, planning and assessment. 

  • 7.
    Biggs, Reinette (Oonsie)
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Rhode, Clint
    Archibald, Sally
    Kunene, Lucky Makhosini
    Mutanga, Shingirirai S.
    Nkuna, Nghamula
    Ocholla, Peter Omondi
    Phadima, Lehlohonolo Joe
    Strategies for managing complex social-ecological systems in the face of uncertainty: examples from South Africa and beyond2015In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 20, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Improving our ability to manage complex, rapidly changing social-ecological systems is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. This is particularly crucial if large-scale poverty alleviation is to be secured without undermining the capacity of the environment to support future generations. To address this challenge, strategies that enable judicious management of socialecological systems in the face of substantive uncertainty are needed. Several such strategies are emerging from the developing body of work on complexity and resilience. We identify and discuss four strategies, providing practical examples of how each strategy has been applied in innovative ways to manage turbulent social-ecological change in South Africa and the broader region: (1) employ adaptive management or comanagement, (2) engage and integrate different perspectives, (3) facilitate self-organization, and (4) set safe boundaries to avoid system thresholds. Through these examples we aim to contribute a basis for further theoretical development, new teaching examples, and inspiration for developing innovative new management strategies in other regions that can help address the considerable sustainability challenges facing society globally.

  • 8.
    Biggs, Reinette
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Peterson, Garry D.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Rocha, Juan C.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    The Regime Shifts Database: a framework for analyzing regime shifts in social-ecological systems2018In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 23, no 3, article id 9Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Regime shifts, i.e., large, persistent, and usually unexpected changes in ecosystems and social-ecological systems, can have major impacts on ecosystem services, and consequently, on human well-being. However, the vulnerability of different regions to various regime shifts is largely unknown because evidence for the existence of regime shifts in different ecosystems and parts of the world is scattered and highly uneven. Furthermore, research tends to focus on individual regime shifts rather than comparisons across regime shifts, limiting the potential for identifying common drivers that could reduce the risk of multiple regime shifts simultaneously. Here, we introduce the Regime Shifts Database, an open-access database that systematically synthesizes information on social-ecological regime shifts across a wide range of systems using a consistent, comparative framework, providing a wide-ranging information resource for environmental planning, assessment, research, and teaching initiatives. The database currently contains 28 generic types of regime shifts and > 300 specific case studies. Each entry provides a literature-based synthesis of the key drivers and feedbacks underlying the regime shift, as well as impacts on ecosystem services and human well-being, and possible management options. Across the 28 regime shifts, climate change and agriculture-related activities are the most prominent among a wide range of drivers. Biodiversity, fisheries, and aquatic ecosystems are particularly widely affected, as are key aspects of human well-being, including livelihoods, food and nutrition, and an array of cultural ecosystem services. We hope that the database will stimulate further research and teaching on regime shifts that can inform policy and practice and ultimately enhance our collective ability to manage and govern large, abrupt, systemic changes in the Anthropocene.

  • 9.
    Biggs, Reinette
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Schlüter, Maja
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Germany.
    Biggs, Duan
    Bohensky, Erin L.
    BurnSilver, Shauna
    Cundill, Georgina
    Dakos, Vasilis
    Daw, Tim M.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre. University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.
    Evans, Louisa S.
    Kotschy, Karen
    Leitch, Anne M.
    Meek, Chanda
    Quinlan, Allyson
    Raudsepp-Hearne, Ciara
    Robards, Martin D.
    Schoon, Michael L.
    Schultz, Lisen
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    West, Paul C.
    Toward Principles for Enhancing the Resilience of Ecosystem Services2012In: Annual Review Environment and Resources, ISSN 1543-5938, E-ISSN 1545-2050, Vol. 37, p. 421-448Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services (ES) that underpin human well-being is critical for meeting current and future societal needs, and requires specific governance and management policies. Using the literature, we identify seven generic policy-relevant principles for enhancing the resilience of desired ES in the face of disturbance and ongoing change in social-ecological systems (SES). These principles are (P1) maintain diversity and redundancy, (P2) manage connectivity, (P3) manage slow variables and feedbacks, (P4) foster an understanding of SES as complex adaptive systems (CAS), (P5) encourage learning and experimentation, (P6) broaden participation, and (P7) promote polycentric governance systems. We briefly define each principle, review how and when it enhances the resilience of ES, and conclude with major research gaps. In practice, the principles often co-occur and are highly interdependent. Key future needs are to better understand these interdependencies and to operationalize and apply the principles in different policy and management contexts.

  • 10.
    Biggs, Reinette
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Westley, Frances R.
    University of Waterloo, Canada.
    Carpenter, Stephen R.
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
    Navigating the Back Loop: Fostering Social Innovation and Transformation in Ecosystem Management2010In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 9-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Addressing the environmental challenges of the 21st century requires substantial changes to the way modern society views and manages ecosystems. In particular, many authors contend that fundamental transformation of the largely sectoral, expert-centered ecosystem-management institutions of modern, Western societies is needed. There is increasing agreement that more adaptive, integrated, collaborative ecosystem-management approaches, interlinked at multiple scales, would improve society's ability to sustainably manage complex social-ecological systems. Therefore, understanding processes of transformation, and factors that may enable transformation in ecosystem management, has become an active research area. We explore ecosystem-management transformations using a social-innovation framework. Based on three local-level case studies of transformation in freshwater management, we provide a pilot assessment of factors that may promote the emergence and adoption of integrated, collaborative ecosystem-management approaches. Our analysis suggests that ongoing environmental degradation, increasing environmental awareness, and shifting societal values are creating fertile ground for the emergence and adoption of new approaches to ecosystem management. Based on the case studies we examined, we suggest that initiatives that foster environmental awareness and attachment to local ecosystems, develop capacity for social entrepreneurship in the environmental arena, promote dialogue between key stakeholders, and provide institutional support to new institutions may facilitate the emergence of integrated, collaborative ecosystem-management approaches.

  • 11. Chapin, F. Stuart, III
    et al.
    Carpenter, Stephen R.
    Kofinas, Gary P.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Abel, Nick
    Clark, William C.
    Olsson, Per
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Smith, D. Mark Stafford
    Walker, Brian
    Young, Oran R.
    Berkes, Fikret
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Grove, J. Morgan
    Naylor, Rosamond L.
    Pinkerton, Evelyn
    Steffen, Will
    Swanson, Frederick J.
    Ecosystem stewardship: sustainability strategies for a rapidly changing planet2010In: Trends in Ecology & Evolution, ISSN 0169-5347, E-ISSN 1872-8383, Vol. 25, no 4, p. 241-249Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Ecosystem stewardship is an action-oriented framework intended to foster the social ecological sustainability of a rapidly changing planet. Recent developments identify three strategies that make optimal use of current understanding in an environment of inevitable uncertainty and abrupt change: reducing the magnitude of, and exposure and sensitivity to, known stresses; focusing on proactive policies that shape change; and avoiding or escaping unsustainable social ecological traps. As we discuss here, all social ecological systems are vulnerable to recent and projected changes but have sources of adaptive capacity and resilience that can sustain ecosystem services and human well-being through active ecosystem stewardship.

  • 12. Chapin, III F.S.
    et al.
    Kofinas, G.P.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Carpenter, S.R.
    Olsson, Per
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Abel, N
    Biggs, Reinette Oonsie
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Naylor, R.L
    Pinkerton, E
    Stafford-Smith, D.M.
    Steffen, W.L.
    Walker, B.H.
    Young, O.R
    Resilience-based stewardship: Strategies for navigating sustainable pathways in a changing world.2009In: Principles of ecosystem stewardship:: Resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world / [ed] F.S. Chapin, III, G.P. Kofinas and C. Folke, New York: Springer Verlag , 2009, p. 319-337Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    Accelerated global changes in climate, environment, and social–ecological systems demand a transformation in human perceptions of our place in nature and patterns of resource use. The biology and culture of Homo sapiens evolved for about 95% of our species’ history in hunting-and-gathering societies before the emergence of settled agriculture. We have lived in complex societies for about 3%, and in industrial societies using fossil fuels for about 0.1% of our history. The pace of cultural evolution, including governance arrangements and resource-use patterns, appears insufficient to adjust to the rate and magnitude of technological innovations, human population increases, and environmental impacts that have occurred. Many of these changes are accelerating, causing unsustainable exploitation of ecosystems, including many boreal and tropical forests, drylands, and marine fisheries. The net effect has been serious degradation of the planet’s life-support system on which societal development ultimately depends (see Chapters 2 and 14.

  • 13. de Vos, Alta
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Preiser, Rika
    Methods for understanding social-ecological systems: a review of place-based studies2019In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 24, no 4, article id 16Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, social-ecological systems (SES) have emerged as a prominent analytical framing with which to investigate pressing sustainability issues associated with the Anthropocene era. Despite the growth of SES research, the lack of a delineated set of methods commonly contributes to disorientation for those entering into a field where methodological pluralism is the norm. We conduct a review of SES research, focusing particularly on methods used in this field. Our results reflect the rapid growth in SES research relative to other publications in relevant subject areas, and suggest a maturation of the field. Whilst institutions investigating SES have been mostly based in the global north, focal SES has been more globally distributed, although key regions, especially island regions, remain poorly studied. Key problems addressed in the studies related to policy, trade, conservation, adaptation, land use change, water, forests, sustainability, urban problems, and governance and institutions. We identified 311 methods, which we grouped into 27 method categories that can serve as a guide to SES research methods for newcomers to the field. We also performed an exploratory assessment of the ability of these methods to account for key features of SES as complex adaptive systems. We found that methods do better at accounting for the relational and context-dependent nature of SES, and least well with complex causality. Our study highlights the plurality of methods used in SES research, and helps highlight key areas in need of further methodological development.

  • 14. 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, p. 144-149Article 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.

  • 15.
    Folke, Carl
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden,.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
    Norström, Albert V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Rockström, Johan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Social-ecological resilience and biosphere-based sustainability science2016In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 21, no 3, article id 41Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Humanity has emerged as a major force in the operation of the biosphere. The focus is shifting from the environment as externality to the biosphere as precondition for social justice, economic development, and sustainability. In this article, we exemplify the intertwined nature of social-ecological systems and emphasize that they operate within, and as embedded parts of the biosphere and as such coevolve with and depend on it. We regard social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems and use a social-ecological resilience approach as a lens to address and understand their dynamics. We raise the challenge of stewardship of development in concert with the biosphere for people in diverse contexts and places as critical for long-term sustainability and dignity in human relations. Biosphere stewardship is essential, in the globalized world of interactions with the Earth system, to sustain and enhance our life-supporting environment for human well-being and future human development on Earth, hence, the need to reconnect development to the biosphere foundation and the need for a biosphere-based sustainability science.

  • 16. Gaertner, Mirijam
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Te Beest, Mariska
    Hui, Cang
    Molofsky, Jane
    Richardson, David M.
    Invasive plants as drivers of regime shifts: identifying high-priority invaders that alter feedback relationships2014In: Diversity & distributions: A journal of biological invasions and biodiversity, ISSN 1366-9516, E-ISSN 1472-4642, Vol. 20, no 7, p. 733-744Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim A major challenge for invasion ecology is to identify high-impact invaders to guide prioritization of management interventions. We argue that species with the potential to cause regime shifts (altered states of ecosystem structure and function that are difficult or impossible to reverse) should be prioritized. These are species that modify ecosystems in ways that enhance their own persistence and suppress that of native species through reinforcing feedback processes. Methods Using both systems analysis and meta-analysis approaches, we synthesized changes to ecosystems caused by 173 invasive plant species. For the systems analysis, we examined published studies of impacts of invasive plants to determine which presented evidence consistent with a reinforcement of feedback processes. For the meta-analysis, we calculated the effect size ratio between standardized changes in recipient ecosystem and in the status of introduced species as an indication of a reinforcing feedback in particular species-environment combinations. The systems analysis approach allowed us to conceptualize regime shifts in invader-dominated landscapes and to estimate the likelihood of such changes occurring. The meta-analysis allowed us to quantitatively verify the conceptual model and the key invader-context feedbacks and to detect the strength and direction of feedbacks. Results Most reinforcing feedbacks involve impacts on soil-nutrient cycling by shrub and tree invaders in forests and herbaceous invaders in wetlands. Feedbacks resulting in regime shifts were most likely related to processes associated with seed banks, fire and nutrient cycling. Results were used to derive a key for identifying high-impact invaders. Main conclusions Identifying combinations of plant life-forms and ecosystems most likely to result in regime shifts is a robust approach for predicting high-impact invasions and therefore for prioritizing management interventions. The meta-analysis revealed the need for more quantitative studies, including manipulative experiments, on ecosystem feedbacks.

  • 17.
    Hamann, Maike
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Biodiversity change in South Africa: connections to ecosystem services and human well-beingManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 18.
    Hamann, Maike
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa.
    An Exploration of Human Well-Being Bundles as Identifiers of Ecosystem Service Use Patterns2016In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 11, no 10, article id e0163476Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We take a social-ecological systems perspective to investigate the linkages between ecosystem services and human well-being in South Africa. A recent paper identified different types of social-ecological systems in the country, based on distinct bundles of ecosystem service use. These system types were found to represent increasingly weak direct feed-backs between nature and people, from rural green-loop communities to urban red-loop societies. Here we construct human well-being bundles and explore whether the well-being bundles can be used to identify the same social-ecological system types that were identified using bundles of ecosystem service use. Based on national census data, we found three distinct well-being bundle types that are mainly characterized by differences in income, unemployment and property ownership. The distribution of these well-being bundles approximates the distribution of ecosystem service use bundles to a substantial degree: High levels of income and education generally coincided with areas characterised by low levels of direct ecosystem service use (or red-loop systems), while the majority of low well-being areas coincided with medium and high levels of direct ecosystem service use (or transition and green-loop systems). However, our results indicate that transformations from green-loop to red-loop systems do not always entail an immediate improvement in well-being, which we suggest may be due to a time lag between changes in the different system components. Using human well-being bundles as an indicator of social-ecological dynamics may be useful in other contexts since it is based on socio-economic data commonly collected by governments, and provides important insights into the connections between ecosystem services and human well-being at policy-relevant sub-national scales.

  • 19.
    Hamann, Maike
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa.
    An exploration of human well-being bundles as identifiers of ecosystem service use patternsArticle in journal (Refereed)
  • 20.
    Hamann, Maike
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa.
    Mapping social-ecological systems: Identifying 'green-loop' and 'red-loop' dynamics based on characteristic bundles of ecosystem service use2015In: Global Environmental Change, ISSN 0959-3780, E-ISSN 1872-9495, Vol. 34, p. 218-226Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We present an approach to identify and map social-ecological systems based on the direct use of ecosystem services by households. This approach builds on the premise that characteristic bundles of ecosystem service use represent integrated expressions of different underlying social-ecological systems. We test the approach in South Africa using national census data on the direct use of six provisioning services (freshwater from a natural source, firewood for cooking, firewood for heating, natural building materials, animal production, and crop production) at two different scales. Based on a cluster analysis, we identify three distinct ecosystem service bundles that represent social-ecological systems characterized by low, medium and high levels of direct ecosystem service use among households. We argue that these correspond to 'green-loop', 'transition' and 'red-loop' systems as defined by Cumming et al. (2014). When mapped, these systems form coherent spatial units that differ from systems identified by additive combinations of separate social and biophysical datasets, the most common method of mapping social-ecological systems to date. The distribution of the systems we identified is mainly determined by social factors, such as household income, gender of the household head, and land tenure, and only partly determined by the supply of natural resources. An understanding of the location and characteristic resource use dynamics of different social-ecological systems allows for policies to be better targeted at the particular sustainability challenges faced in different areas.

  • 21.
    Hamann, Maike
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa.
    Tengö, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Daw, Tim
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.
    Hahn, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Selomane, Odirilwe
    Polasky, Stephen
    Elmqvist, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Four perspectives on ecosystem servicesManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 22. Homer-Dixon, Thomas
    et al.
    Walker, Brian
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Crépin, Anne-Sophie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Lambin, Eric F.
    Peterson, Garry D.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Rockström, Johan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Scheffer, Marten
    Steffen, Will
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Australian National University, Australia.
    Troell, Max
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Synchronous failure: the emerging causal architecture of global crisis2015In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 20, no 3, article id 6Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent global crises reveal an emerging pattern of causation that could increasingly characterize the birth and progress of future global crises. A conceptual framework identifies this pattern's deep causes, intermediate processes, and ultimate outcomes. The framework shows how multiple stresses can interact within a single social-ecological system to cause a shift in that system's behavior, how simultaneous shifts of this kind in several largely discrete social-ecological systems can interact to cause a far larger intersystemic crisis, and how such a larger crisis can then rapidly propagate across multiple system boundaries to the global scale. Case studies of the 2008-2009 financial-energy and food-energy crises illustrate the framework. Suggestions are offered for future research to explore further the framework's propositions.

  • 23. Leadley, Paul
    et al.
    Proenca, Vania
    Fernandez-Manjarres, Juan
    Pereira, Henrique Miguel
    Alkemade, Rob
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Bruley, Enora
    Cheung, William
    Cooper, David
    Figueiredo, Joana
    Gilman, Eric
    Guenette, Sylvie
    Hurtt, George
    Mbow, Cheikh
    Oberdorff, Thierry
    Revenga, Carmen
    Scharlemann, Joern P. W.
    Scholes, Robert
    Smith, Mark Stafford
    Sumaila, U. Rashid
    Walpole, Matt
    Interacting Regional-Scale Regime Shifts for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services2014In: BioScience, ISSN 0006-3568, E-ISSN 1525-3244, Vol. 64, no 8, p. 665-679Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Current trajectories of global change may lead to regime shifts at regional scales, driving coupled human-environment systems to highly degraded states in terms of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being. For business-as-usual socioeconomic development pathways, regime shifts are projected to occur within the next several decades, to be difficult to reverse, and to have regional- to global-scale impacts on human society. We provide an overview of ecosystem, socioeconomic, and biophysical mechanisms mediating regime shifts and illustrate how these interact at regional scales by aggregation, synergy, and spreading processes. We give detailed examples of interactions for terrestrial ecosystems of central South America and for marine and coastal ecosystems of Southeast Asia. This analysis suggests that degradation of biodiversity and, ecosystem services over the twenty-first century could be far greater than was previously predicted. We identify key policy and management opportunities at regional to global scales to avoid these shifts.

  • 24. Luvuno, Linda
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Stevens, Nicola
    Esler, Karen
    Woody Encroachment as a Social-Ecological Regime Shift2018In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 10, no 7, article id 2221Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    African savannas are increasingly affected by woody encroachment, an increase in the density of woody plants. Woody encroachment often occurs unexpectedly, is difficult to reverse, and has significant economic, cultural and ecological implications. The process of woody encroachment represents a so-called regime shift that results from feedback loops that link vegetation and variables such as fire, grazing and water availability. Much of the work on woody encroachment has focused on the direct drivers of the process, such as the role of fire or grazing in inhibiting or promoting encroachment. However, little work has been done on how ecological changes may provide feedback to affect some of the underlying social processes driving woody encroachment. In this paper, we build on the ecological literature on encroachment to present a qualitative systems analysis of woody encroachment as a social-ecological regime shift. Our analysis highlights the underlying indirect role of human population growth, and we distinguish the key social-ecological processes underlying woody encroachment in arid versus mesic African savannas. The analysis we present helps synthesize the impacts of encroachment, the drivers and feedbacks that play a key role and identify potential social and ecological leverage points to prevent or reverse the woody encroachment process.

  • 25. Mace, Georgina M.
    et al.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa .
    Alkemade, Rob
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Chapin, F. Stuart, III
    Cornell, Sarah E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Diaz, Sandra
    Jennings, Simon
    Leadley, Paul
    Mumby, Peter J.
    Purvis, Andy
    Scholes, Robert J.
    Seddon, Alistair W. R.
    Solan, Martin
    Steffen, Will
    Woodward, Guy
    Approaches to defining a planetary boundary for biodiversity2014In: Global Environmental Change, ISSN 0959-3780, E-ISSN 1872-9495, Vol. 28, p. 289-297Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The idea that there is an identifiable set of boundaries, beyond which anthropogenic change will put the Earth system outside a safe operating space for humanity, is attracting interest in the scientific community and gaining support in the environmental policy world. Rockstrom et al. (2009) identify nine such boundaries and highlight biodiversity loss as being the single boundary where current rates of extinction put the Earth system furthest outside the safe operating space. Here we review the evidence to support a boundary based on extinction rates and identify weaknesses with this metric and its bearing on humanity's needs. While changes to biodiversity are of undisputed importance, we show that both extinction rate and species richness are weak metrics for this purpose, and they do not scale well from local to regional or global levels. We develop alternative approaches to determine biodiversity loss boundaries and extend our analysis to consider large-scale responses in the Earth system that could affect its suitability for complex human societies which in turn are mediated by the biosphere. We suggest three facets of biodiversity on which a boundary could be based: the genetic library of life; functional type diversity; and biome condition and extent. For each of these we explore the science needed to indicate how it might be measured and how changes would affect human societies. In addition to these three facets, we show how biodiversity's role in supporting a safe operating space for humanity may lie primarily in its interactions with other boundaries, suggesting an immediate area of focus for scientists and policymakers.

  • 26. Metelerkamp, Luke
    et al.
    Drimie, Scott
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    We're ready, the system's not - youth perspectives on agricultural careers in South Africa2019In: Agrekon, ISSN 0303-1853, Vol. 58, no 2, p. 154-179Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In light of rising levels of youth unemployment in South Africa, now at 50 per cent, research was undertaken to better understand the paradox of young people turning away from agricultural employment in spite of such high levels of unemployment in the country. The research brings to light new evidence of youth perspectives on contemporary attitudes, experiences and expectations of work in the agricultural sector in South Africa.The research took a narrative-based approach using SenseMaker as a tool for blended qualitative and quantitative data collection. A sample of 573 youth narratives was drawn from across three sites in the KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape provinces of South Africa.Findings show that attitudes towards careers in agriculture vary greatly. While a set of negative perceptions emerged from the narratives as anticipated, approximately one third of the respondents expressed a clear interest in and passion for agriculture. This interest persisted in spite of a range of pervasive social norms and stigmas. However, these positive aspirations tended to be at odds with the kinds of jobs created by an increasingly corporatised food regime.The research addresses two key policy documents: The National Development Plan and the National Youth Policy, contributing toward the growing body of literature seeking to understand how agricultural policy based on principles of accumulation from below may be formulated. It also provides an empirical evidence base for activists, educators and policy-makers interested in the role of the agricultural sector in addressing youth unemployment in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.

  • 27. O´Brien, K.
    et al.
    Patwardhan, A.
    Pelling, M.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Toward a Sustainable and Resilient Future2011In: Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX): Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) / [ed] Christopher B. Field, Vicente Barros, Thomas F. Stocker, Qin Dahe., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 437-485Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 28. Pereira, Henrique M.
    et al.
    Leadley, Paul W.
    Proenca, Vania
    Alkemade, Rob
    Scharlemann, Joern P. W.
    Fernandez-Manjarres, Juan F.
    Araujo, Miguel B.
    Balvanera, Patricia
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Cheung, William W. L.
    Chini, Louise
    Cooper, H. David
    Gilman, Eric L.
    Guenette, Sylvie
    Hurtt, George C.
    Huntington, Henry P.
    Mace, Georgina M.
    Oberdorff, Thierry
    Revenga, Carmen
    Rodrigues, Patricia
    Scholes, Robert J.
    Sumaila, Ussif Rashid
    Walpole, Matt
    Scenarios for Global Biodiversity in the 21st Century2010In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 330, no 6010, p. 1496-1501Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Quantitative scenarios are coming of age as a tool for evaluating the impact of future socioeconomic development pathways on biodiversity and ecosystem services. We analyze global terrestrial, freshwater, and marine biodiversity scenarios using a range of measures including extinctions, changes in species abundance, habitat loss, and distribution shifts, as well as comparing model projections to observations. Scenarios consistently indicate that biodiversity will continue to decline over the 21st century. However, the range of projected changes is much broader than most studies suggest, partly because there are major opportunities to intervene through better policies, but also because of large uncertainties in projections.

  • 29. Pereira, Laura M.
    et al.
    Hichert, Tanja
    Hamann, Maike
    Preiser, Rika
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Using futures methods to create transformative spaces: visions of a good Anthropocene in southern Africa2018In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 23, no 1, article id 19Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The unique challenges posed by the Anthropocene require creative ways of engaging with the future and bringing about transformative change. Envisioning positive futures is a first step in creating a shared understanding and commitment that enables radical transformations toward sustainability in a world defined by complexity, diversity, and uncertainty. However, to create a transformative space in which truly unknowable futures can be explored, new experimental approaches are needed that go beyond merely extrapolating from the present into archetypal scenarios of the future. Here, we present a process of creative visioning where participatory methods and tools from the field of futures studies were combined in a novel way to create and facilitate a transformative space, with the aim of generating positive narrative visions for southern Africa. We convened a diverse group of participants in a workshop designed to develop radically different scenarios of good Anthropocenes, based on existing seeds of the future in the present. These seeds are innovative initiatives, practices, and ideas that are present in the world today, but are not currently widespread or dominant. As a result of a carefully facilitated process that encouraged a multiplicity of perspectives, creative immersion, and grappling with deeply held assumptions, four radical visions for southern Africa were produced. Although these futures are highly innovative and exploratory, they still link back to current real-world initiatives and contexts. The key learning that arose from this experience was the importance of the imagination for transformative thinking, the need to capitalize on diversity to push boundaries, and finally, the importance of creating a space that enables participants to engage with emotions, beliefs, and complexity. This method of engagement with the future has the potential to create transformative spaces that inspire and empower people to act toward positive Anthropocene visions despite the complexity of the sustainability challenge.

  • 30. Preiser, Rika
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    De Vos, Alta
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems: organizing principles for advancing research methods and approaches2018In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 23, no 4, article id 46Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The study of social-ecological systems (SES) has been significantly shaped by insights from research on complex adaptive systems (CAS). We offer a brief overview of the conceptual integration of CAS research and its implications for the advancement of SES studies and methods. We propose a conceptual typology of six organizing principles of CAS based on a comparison of leading scholars' classifications of CAS features and properties. This typology clusters together similar underlying organizing principles of the features and attributes of CAS, and serves as a heuristic framework for identifying methods and approaches that account for the key features of SES. These principles can help identify appropriate methods and approaches for studying SES. We discuss three main implications of studying and engaging with SES as CAS. First, there needs to be a shift in focus when studying the dynamics and interactions in SES, to better capture the nature of the organizing principles that characterize SES behavior. Second, realizing that the nature of the intertwined social-ecological relations is complex has real consequences for how we choose methods and practical approaches for observing and studying SES interactions. Third, engagement with SES as CAS poses normative challenges for problem-oriented researchers and practitioners taking on real-world challenges.

  • 31. Preiser, Rika
    et al.
    Pereira, Laura M.
    Biggs, Reinette (Oonise)
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Navigating alternative framings of human-environment interactions: Variations on the theme of 'Finding Nemo'2017In: Anthropocene, E-ISSN 2213-3054, Vol. 20, p. 83-87Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Wide agreement exists that the Anthropocene demands new forms of engagement and responses to achieve sustainability, but different fields suggest quite different approaches. In this communication, we set out four perspectives that we argue have fundamentally different framings of the problem of the Anthropocene, and consequently point to very different responses to achieving sustainability. These four fields include: the eco-modernist perspective, the planetary stewardship paradigm, the pathways to sustainability approach, and the critical post-humanist paradigm. We suggest that a deeper underlying framing which can help integrate aspects of these four perspectives is an understanding of the Anthropocene as responsibility. We argue that from this perspective it becomes possible to engage with an ethics of responsibility that comes with being human and acting on the planet, in the face of an uncertain and unknowable future.

  • 32.
    Reyers, Belinda
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Moore, Michele-Lee
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. University of Victoria, Canada.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Galaz, Victor
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Social-Ecological Systems Insights for Navigating the Dynamics of the Anthropocene2018In: Annual Review Environment and Resources, ISSN 1543-5938, E-ISSN 1545-2050, Vol. 43, p. 267-289Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social-ecological systems (SES) research offers new theory and evidence to transform sustainable development to better contend with the challenges of the Anthropocene. Four insights from contemporary SES literature on (a) intertwined SES, (b) cross-scale dynamics, (c) systemic tipping points, and (d) transformational change are explored. Based on these insights, shifts in sustainable development practice are suggested to recognize and govern the complex and codeveloping social and ecological aspects of development challenges. The potential susceptibility of SES to nonlinear systemic reconfigurations is highlighted, as well as the opportunities, agency, and capacities required to foster reconfigurative transformations for sustainable development. SES research proposes the need for diverse values and beliefs that are more in tune with the deep, dynamic connections between social and ecological systems to transform development practice and to support capacities to deal with shocks and surprises. From these perspectives, SES research offers new outlooks, practices, and novel opportunity spaces from which to address the challenges of the Anthropocene.

  • 33.
    Rocha, Juan Carlos
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Peterson, Garry
    Regime Shifts2012In: Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: ecosystem Management and Sustainability (Vol. 5) / [ed] Craig, Robin K; Nagle, John C; Pardy, Bruce; Schmitz, Oswald J; Smith, william K., USA: Berkshire Publishing , 2012, 1Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A regime shift is a large, persistent change in the structure and function of a system. In ecosystems, regime shifts substantially affect the flow of services that societies rely on; they often occur unexpectedly and are difficult or impossible to reverse. Understanding the mechanisms that lead to and sustain regime shifts and predicting regime shifts before they happen are major challenges for ecosystem managers concerned with long-term sustainable resource management.

  • 34.
    Rocha, Juan Carlos
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Peterson, Garry D.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Regime Shifts in the Anthropocene: Drivers, Risks, and Resilience2015In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 8, article id e0134639Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many ecosystems can experience regime shifts: surprising, large and persistent changes in the function and structure of ecosystems. Assessing whether continued global change will lead to further regime shifts, or has the potential to trigger cascading regime shifts has been a central question in global change policy. Addressing this issue has, however, been hampered by the focus of regime shift research on specific cases and types of regime shifts. To systematically assess the global risk of regime shifts we conducted a comparative analysis of 25 generic types of regime shifts across marine, terrestrial and polar systems; identifying their drivers, and impacts on ecosystem services. Our results show that the drivers of regime shifts are diverse and co-occur strongly, which suggests that continued global change can be expected to synchronously increase the risk of multiple regime shifts. Furthermore, many regime shift drivers are related to climate change and food production, whose links to the continued expansion of human activities makes them difficult to limit. Because many regime shifts can amplify the drivers of other regime shifts, continued global change can also be expected to increase the risk of cascading regime shifts. Nevertheless, the variety of scales at which regime shift drivers operate provides opportunities for reducing the risk of many types of regime shifts by addressing local or regional drivers, even in the absence of rapid reduction of global drivers.

  • 35.
    Rocha, Juan Carlos
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Peterson, Garry D.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette Oonsie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Regime Shifts in the Anthropocene: drivers, risk, and resilienceManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Human action is driving worldwide change in ecosystems. While some of these changes have been gradual, others have led to surprising, large and persistent ecological regime shifts 1-4. Such shifts challenge ecological management and governance because they substantially alter the availability of ecosystems services 5, while being difficult to predict 6 and reverse2. Assessing whether continued global change will lead to further regime shifts, or has the potential trigger cascading regime shifts has been a central question in global change policy 7-9. Addressing this issue has, however, been hampered by the focus of regime shift research on specific cases or types of regime shifts 9-11. To systematically assess the global risk of regime shifts we conducted a comparative analysis of 25 types of regime shifts across marine, terrestrial and polar systems; identifying their drivers, and impacts on ecosystem services. We demonstrate that the drivers of regime shifts are diverse and widely shared among regime shifts, which suggests that continued global change can be expected to synchronously increase the risk of multiple regime shifts. Furthermore, many regime shift drivers are related to climate change and food production, whose tight links to the continued expansion of human activities makes them difficult to limit. Because many regime shifts can amplify the drivers of other regime shifts, continued global change can also be expected to increase the risk of cascading regime shifts 8,12. Nevertheless, the variety of scales at which regime shift drivers operate provides opportunities for reducing the risk of many types of regime shifts by addressing local or regional drivers, even in the absence of rapid reduction of global drivers.

  • 36.
    Rocha, Juan
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Yletyinen, Johanna
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Blenckner, Thorsten
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Peterson, Garry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Marine regime shifts: drivers and impacts on ecosystems services2015In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8436, E-ISSN 1471-2970, Vol. 370, no 1659, article id 20130273Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Marine ecosystems can experience regime shifts, in which they shift from being organized around one set of mutually reinforcing structures and processes to another. Anthropogenic global change has broadly increased a wide variety of processes that can drive regime shifts. To assess the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to such shifts and their potential consequences, we reviewed the scientific literature for 13 types of marine regime shifts and used networks to conduct an analysis of co-occurrence of drivers and ecosystem service impacts. We found that regime shifts are caused by multiple drivers and have multiple consequences that co-occur in a non-random pattern. Drivers related to food production, climate change and coastal development are the most common co-occurring causes of regime shifts, while cultural services, biodiversity and primary production are the most common cluster of ecosystem services affected. These clusters prioritize sets of drivers for management and highlight the need for coordinated actions across multiple drivers and scales to reduce the risk of marine regime shifts. Managerial strategies are likely to fail if they only address well-understood or data-rich variables, and international cooperation and polycentric institutions will be critical to implement and coordinate action across the scales at which different drivers operate. By better understanding these underlying patterns, we hope to inform the development of managerial strategies to reduce the risk of high-impact marine regime shifts, especially for areas of the world where data are not available or monitoring programmes are not in place.

  • 37. 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, E-ISSN 1877-3443, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 16-25Article, 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.

  • 38.
    Selomane, Odirilwe
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa; Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Hamann, Maike
    Harnessing Insights from Social-Ecological Systems Research for Monitoring Sustainable Development2019In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 11, no 4, article id 1190Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The United Nations' Agenda 2030 marks significant progress towards sustainable development by making explicit the intention to integrate previously separate social, economic and environmental agendas. Despite this intention, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted to implement the agenda, are fragmented in their formulation and largely sectoral. We contend that while the design of the SDG monitoring is based on a systems approach, it still misses most of the dynamics and complexity relevant to sustainability outcomes. We propose that insights from the study of social-ecological systems offer a more integrated approach to the implementation of Agenda 2030, particularly the monitoring of progress towards sustainable development outcomes. Using five key features highlighted by the study of social-ecological systems (SESs) relevant to sustainable development: (1) social-ecological feedbacks, (2) resilience, (3) heterogeneity, (4) nonlinearity, and (5) cross-scale dynamics. We analyze the current set of SDG indicators based on these features to explore current progress in making them operational. Our analysis finds that 59% of the indicators account for heterogeneity, 33% for cross-scale dynamics, 23% for nonlinearities, and 18% and 17%, respectively, for social-ecological feedbacks and resilience. Our findings suggest limited use of complex SES science in the current design of SDG monitoring, but combining our findings with recent studies of methods to operationalize SES features suggests future directions for sustainable development monitoring for the current as well as post 2030 set of indicators.

  • 39. Selomane, Odirilwe
    et al.
    Reyers, Belinda
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Tallis, Heather
    Polasky, Stephen
    Towards integrated social-ecological sustainability indicators: Exploring the contribution and gaps in existing global data2015In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 118, p. 140-146Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Sustainable development goals (SDGs), which recognise the interconnections between social, economic and ecological systems, have ignited new interest in indicators able to integrate trends in - and interactions between nature and socio-economic development. We explore whether existing global data can be used to measure nature's contribution to development targets and explore limitations in these data. Using Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1- eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. We develop two indicators to assess the contribution of nature to progress in this goal. The indicators (based on income and employment data from nature-based sectors (NBS) represented by agriculture, forestry and fisheries) show large but declining contributions of nature to MDG 1: NBS contributed to lifting 18% of people out of poverty and provided 37% of global employment between 1991 and 2010. For low income countries, the contributions were 20% and 55% respectively. In exploring data gaps the study highlighted low reporting rates especially in low income countries, as well as lack of other measures of poverty alleviation beyond income and employment. If we are to move beyond target setting to implementation of sustainable development goals at national scales, these shortcomings require as much attention as the elaboration and agreement on the post-2015 development goals.

  • 40. Shackleton, Ross T.
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Richardson, David M.
    Larson, Brendon M. H.
    Social-ecological drivers and impacts of invasion-related regime shifts: consequences for ecosystem services and human wellbeing2018In: Environmental Science and Policy, ISSN 1462-9011, E-ISSN 1873-6416, Vol. 89, p. 300-314Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There are growing concerns that increasing global environmental pressures could lead to the exceedance of critical ecological thresholds that could trigger long-lasting regime shifts that will affect the structure and function of ecosystems and the broader social-ecological systems in which they are embedded. Biological invasions are a major driver of global change, and a number of invasive species alter key ecological feedbacks in ways that lead to regime shifts, with consequences for biodiversity, ecosystem services, livelihoods and human wellbeing. We present four case studies, chosen to represent a diverse range of ecosystems and invasive taxa, to illustrate invasion-driven regime shifts in a variety of social-ecological systems globally. The case studies are: i) wattle trees (Australian Acacia species) in fynbos shrublands in South Africa; ii) Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Victoria in East Africa; iii) chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica) within broad-leaved forests of eastern North America; and iv) the floating macrophytes salvinia (Salvinia molesta) and water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) in East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. For each case we identify the social and ecological drivers and feedbacks underlying the shift, the impacts on ecosystem services and human wellbeing, and the management options for reducing impacts. We discuss the value of using causal-loop diagrams to improve our understanding of the complex dynamics of shifts, and explore how concepts associated with regime shifts can inform guidelines for enhancing adaptive governance of biological invasions. Identifying species that have the potential to generate high-impact regime shifts, understanding the diversity of consequences for different environments and stakeholders, and developing robust management methods to reduce impacts and restore systems to improve social-ecological resilience and reduce vulnerability are priorities for further research.

  • 41. Sitas, Nadia
    et al.
    Harmackova, Zuzana V.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Anticamara, Jonathan A.
    Arneth, Almut
    Badola, Ruchi
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Blanchard, Ryan
    Brotons, Lluis
    Cantele, Matthew
    Coetzer, Kaera
    DasGupta, Rajarshi
    den Belder, Eefje
    Ghosh, Sonali
    Guisan, Antoine
    Gundimeda, Haripriya
    Hamann, Maike
    Harrison, Paula A.
    Hashimoto, Shizuka
    Hauck, Jennifer
    Klatt, Brian J.
    Kok, Kasper
    Krug, Rainer M.
    Niamir, Aidin
    O'Farrell, Patrick J.
    Okayasu, Sana
    Palomo, Ignacio
    Pereira, Laura M.
    Riordan, Philip
    Santos-Martin, Fernando
    Selomane, Odirilwe
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Shin, Yunne-Jai
    Valle, Mireia
    Exploring the usefulness of scenario archetypes in science-policy processes: experience across IPBES assessments2019In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 24, no 3Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Scenario analyses have been used in multiple science-policy assessments to better understand complex plausible futures. Scenario archetype approaches are based on the fact that many future scenarios have similar underlying storylines, assumptions, and trends in drivers of change, which allows for grouping of scenarios into typologies, or archetypes, facilitating comparisons between a large range of studies. The use of scenario archetypes in environmental assessments foregrounds important policy questions and can be used to codesign interventions tackling future sustainability issues. Recently, scenario archetypes were used in four regional assessments and one ongoing global assessment within the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The aim of these assessments was to provide decision makers with policy-relevant knowledge about the state of biodiversity, ecosystems, and the contributions they provide to people. This paper reflects on the usefulness of the scenario archetype approach within science-policy processes, drawing on the experience from the IPBES assessments. Using a thematic analysis of (a) survey data collected from experts involved in the archetype analyses across IPBES assessments, (b) notes from IPBES workshops, and (c) regional assessment chapter texts, we synthesize the benefits, challenges, and frontiers of applying the scenario archetype approach in a science-policy process. Scenario archetypes were perceived to allow syntheses of large amounts of information for scientific, practice-, and policy-related purposes, streamline key messages from multiple scenario studies, and facilitate communication of them to end users. In terms of challenges, they were perceived as subjective in their interpretation, oversimplifying information, having a limited applicability across scales, and concealing contextual information and novel narratives. Finally, our results highlight what methodologies, applications, and frontiers in archetype-based research should be explored in the future. These advances can assist the design of future large-scale sustainability-related assessment processes, aiming to better support decisions and interventions for equitable and sustainable futures.

  • 42.
    Steffen, Will
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Australian National University, Australia.
    Richardson, Katherine
    Rockström, Johan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Cornell, Sarah E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Fetzer, Ingo
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
    Bennett, Elena M.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa .
    Carpenter, Stephen R.
    de Vries, Wim
    de Wit, Cynthia A.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry.
    Folke, Carl
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden.
    Gerten, Dieter
    Heinke, Jens
    Mace, Georgina M.
    Persson, Linn M.
    Ramanathan, Veerabhadran
    Reyers, Belinda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR, South Africa.
    Sörlin, Sverker
    Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet2015In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 347, no 6223Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth system. Here, we revise and update the planetary boundary framework, with a focus on the underpinning biophysical science, based on targeted input from expert research communities and on more general scientific advances over the past 5 years. Several of the boundaries now have a two-tier approach, reflecting the importance of cross-scale interactions and the regional-level heterogeneity of the processes that underpin the boundaries. Two core boundaries-climate change and biosphere integrity-have been identified, each of which has the potential on its own to drive the Earth system into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed.

  • 43. van der Merwe, Susara E.
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette (Oonsie)
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Preiser, Rika
    A framework for conceptualizing and assessing the resilience of essential services produced by socio-technical systems2018In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, E-ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 23, no 2, article id 12Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Essential services such as electricity are critical to human well-being and the functioning of modern society. These services are produced by complex adaptive socio-technical systems and emerge from the interplay of technical infrastructure with people and governing institutions. Ongoing global changes such as urbanization and increasing prevalence of extreme weather events are generating much interest in strategies for building the resilience of essential services. However, much of the emphasis has been on reliable and resilient technical infrastructure. This focus is insufficient; resilience also needs to be built into the human and institutional processes within which these technical systems are embedded. Here, we propose a conceptual framework, based on a complex adaptive systems perspective, that identifies four key domains that require investment to build the resilience of essential services. This framework addresses both the technical and social components of the socio-technical systems that underlie essential services and incorporates specified and general resilience considerations. The framework can be used to guide resilience assessments and to identify strategies for building resilience across different organizational levels.

  • 44. Van der Merwe, Susara E.
    et al.
    Biggs, Reinette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
    Preiser, Rika
    Cunningham, Charmaine
    Snowden, David J.
    O'Brien, Karen
    Jenal, Marcus
    Vosloo, Marietjie
    Blignaut, Sonja
    Goh, Zhen
    Making Sense of Complexity: Using SenseMaker as a Research Tool2019In: Systems, ISSN 2079-8954, Vol. 7, no 2, article id 25Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There is growing interest in studying processes of human sensemaking, as this strongly influences human and organizational behavior as well as complex system dynamics due to the diverse lenses people use to interpret and act in the world. The Cognitive Edge SenseMaker((R)) tool is one method for capturing and making sense of people's attitudes, perceptions, and experiences. It is used for monitoring and evaluation; mapping ideas, mind-sets, and attitudes; and detecting trends and weak signals. However, academic literature describing the tool-set and method is lacking. This introduction aims to guide researchers in choosing when to use SenseMaker and to facilitate understanding of its execution and limitations. SenseMaker can provide nuanced insight into system-level patterns of human sensemaking that can provide insight to nudge systems towards more desirable futures, and enable researchers to measure beyond what they know.

1 - 44 of 44
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