Social-Ecological Systems Insights for Navigating the Dynamics of the Anthropocene

Posted: 26 Oct 2018

See all articles by Belinda Reyers

Belinda Reyers

CSIR (Natural Resources and the Environment)

Carl Folke

Stockholm University

Michele-Lee Moore

Stockholm University

Reinette Biggs

Stockholm University

Victor Galaz

Stockholm University - The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics

Date Written: October 2018

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Reyers, Belinda and Folke, Carl and Moore, Michele-Lee and Biggs, Reinette and Galaz, Victor, Social-Ecological Systems Insights for Navigating the Dynamics of the Anthropocene (October 2018). Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 43, pp. 267-289, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3273332 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-110615-085349

Belinda Reyers (Contact Author)

CSIR (Natural Resources and the Environment) ( email )

South Africa

Carl Folke

Stockholm University ( email )

Dept. of Systems Ecology
S-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Michele-Lee Moore

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Reinette Biggs

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Victor Galaz

Stockholm University - The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics ( email )

Stockholm
Sweden

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