Thomas publishes research on ecological and institutional economics focusing on ecosystem services, adaptive governance, social learning, sustainability transformations, and green economy. At present, he has four research project grants: 1) Institutional analysis of Ecological Compensation as an instrument for ensuring No Net Loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services (Formas); 2) Mistra Financial Systems: Putting financial systems to work for sustainability, where he is a leader and member of the program management group; 3) Effective and equitable institutional arrangements for financing and safeguarding biodiversity (Formas); and 4) BiodivERsA3: GreenFutureForest, where he is the leader on insurance value of ecosystems.
Thomas is also coordinating lead author for the European and Central Asian Regional Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
Thomas holds a PhD from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, where he studied property rights of the indigenous Sami people, ethics, and conflict resolution. With a background in agricultural economics, he has explored interdisciplinary science, from social sciences to ecology. Presently, his work is mostly transdisciplinary. Previously, Thomas was a full-time teacher and the director of studies at SRC, but now focuses more on research.
In 2013, Thomas worked half-time co-authoring a report, commissioned by the Swedish government, on the value of ecosystem services. He is currently engaged in dialogue seminars within the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) and with IPBES.
Thomas serves as a board member of Sveaskog AB, the largest forest owner in Europe, and as a board member of the Swedish Nuclear Waste Fund. He also serves as expert in governmental investigations on climate economy and on ecological compensation. He is also a member of a think tank Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), and recently participated in a pre-study on green economy for Mistra, the Swedish foundation for strategic environmental research. This report was launched in 2015 and it was broadcasted by national television.
Thomas regularly gives presentations about his research to various Swedish parliamentary committees, the Swedish Environmental Protection Board, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, and decision-makers in the private sector, including NGOs.
Thomas collaborates with other departments at SU on teaching and research. He has helped catalyze the Faculty of Social Sciences to instigate a new topic for graduate studies: environmental social science, which will promote interdisciplinary research careers. In 2015 Thomas had some of his research featured by Stockholm University.
Awards and achievements:
Research news | 2017-08-03
New study looks at ecological compensation, a novel legal and policy instrument, and how Sweden is using it to balance development and conservation of important biological and social areas
Research news | 2017-02-10
Contrary to critics, resilience research is not blind to power structures or conflicts
Research news | 2016-01-20
Economic instruments for biodiversity and ecosystem services need not rely on markets or monetary valuation
Research news | 2014-01-09
Six steps to boost organic farming in countries around a strained Baltic Sea
2017 - Journal / article
Ecological compensation (EC) is being explored as a policy instrument for the European Union’s ‘No Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ initiative. EC is commonly associated with the Polluter-Pays Principle, but we propose the Developer-Pays Principle as a more comprehensive principle. Safeguards that are relevant to local and national contexts are needed when addressing social-ecological resilience in the face of ...
2017 - Journal / article
The paper analyzes how adaptability (adaptive capacity and adaptations) is constructed in the literature on resilience of social–ecological systems (SES). According to some critics, this literature views adaptability as the capacity of SES to self-organize in an autonomous harmonious consensus-building process, ignoring strategies, conflicting goals, and power issues. We assessed 183 papers, coding two dimensions of adaptabil...
2015 - Journal / article
Commodification of nature refers to the expansion of market trade to previously non-marketed spheres. This is a contested issue both in the scientific literature and in policy deliberations. The aim of this paper is to analytically clarify and distinguish between different purposes and degrees of commodification and to focus attention to the safeguards: the detailed institutional design. We identify six degrees of commodifica...
2014 - Policy brief or report
This policy report examines the notion of safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms (BFMs) under the Convention on Biological Diversity, in order to inform discussions in CBD-COP12. It explores key elements in the process of scaling-up biodiversity financing for achieving the CBD objectives. It is a result of a lengthy and collaborative process which has benefited from inputs and comments from Parties and other relevan...