PhD, Natural Resource Management

Theme leader, Stewardship research

orjan.bodin 'at' su.se

+46 8 674 76 71, +46 703 410 121


Staff profile

Örjan Bodin is joint theme leader for the Stewardship research theme. He is also Lab manager for the Modelling and Visualisation Lab

Profile summary

  • Bodin's main focus is to develop better understanding of social-ecological systems through
    quantitative modeling and analyses of empirical data
  • He uses and develops theoretical/conceptual models and simulations, as well as engaging in empirical studies and empirical data analyses
  • Bodin has been engaged in cases studies of small-scale fisheries, high sea fishery, agriculture and regional land use management

In his research on social-ecological systems (SES) he combines and integrate methods and theories from several different scientific disciplines. Bodin's main focus is to develop better understanding of SES through quantitative modeling and analyses of empirical data drawn from case studies and, more recently, behavioral experiments.
In this work, he uses and develops theoretical/conceptual models and simulations, as well as engaging in empirical studies and empirical data analyses. Bodin often describes and models social, ecological and coupled SESs as complex and intricate webs of interactions between, and among, different ecological and/or social components. This cross-disciplinary network analytical approach allows him to apply the same set of methods and conceptualization in studying such different things as power asymmetries resulting from different patterns of social and economical relationships among small-scale fishermen to large-scale analyses of seed dispersals in human-dominated and fragmented landscapes. It thus facilitates systemic analyses of SES that bridge scientific disciplines.
In conjunction with the network modelling approach, Bodin has applied methods and techniques such as formal mathematical analysis, Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), in-depth interviews and qualitative data analysis, surveys, behavioral experiments, agent-based simulation modelling, GIS and spatial explicit modelling and analysis, mathematical graph-theory, and statistical modelling.
Bodin has published in both natural and social science journals, and has been engaged (in addition to several theoretically oriented studies) in cases studies of small-scale fisheries in east Africa, high sea fishery in southern Ocean, agriculture in southern Madagascar, and regional land use management in Stockholm, Sweden.


Publications by Bodin, Örjan

Achieving social-ecological fit through bottom-up collaborative governance: an empirical investigation

Guerrero, A. M., Ö. Bodin, R. R. J. McAllister, and K. A. Wilson.

2016 - Journal / article

Significant benefits can arise from collaborative forms of governance that foster self-organization and flexibility. Likewise, governance systems that fit with the extent and complexity of the system under management are considered essential to our ability to solve environmental problems. However, from an empirical perspective the fundamental question of whether self-organized (bottom-up) collaborativ forms of governance are able to accomplish adequate fit is unresolved. We used new theory and methodological approaches underpinned by interdisciplinary network analysis to address this gap by investigating three governance challenges that relate to the problem of fit: shared management of ecological resources, management of interconnected ecological resources, and cross-scale management. We found that stakeholders collaborate to manage individual parcels of native vegetation, but not for the management of interconnected parcels. In addition, our data show that the collaborative arrangements enable management across different scales (local, regional, supraregional). Our study provides empirical support for the ability of collaborative forms of governance to address the problem of fit, but also suggests that in some cases the establishment of bottom-up collaborative arrangements would likely benefit from specific guidance to facilitate the establishment of collaborations that better align with the ways ecological resources are interconnected across the landscape. In our case study region, this would improve the capacity of stakeholders to detect both the intended and unintended off-site impacts of management actions. Our approach offers an avenue for empirical evaluations of collaborative governance so that preconditions for effectiveness of environmental programs can be enhanced.

Collaborative governance for climate change adaptation in Canada: Experimenting with adaptive co-management

Baird, J., R. Plummer, Ö. Bodin

2015 - Journal / article

The search for strategies to address ‘super wicked problems’ such as climate change is gaining urgency, and a collaborative governance approach, and adaptive co-management in particular, is increasingly recognized as one such strategy. However, the conditions for adaptive co-management to emerge and the resulting network structures and relational patterns remain unclear in the literature. To address these identified needs, this study examines social relationships from a network perspective while initiating a collaborative multiactor initiative aimed to develop into adaptive co-management for climate change adaptation, an action research project undertaken in the Niagara region of Canada. The project spanned 1 year, and a longitudinal analysis of participants’ networks and level of participation in the process was performed. Evidence of support for climate change adaptation from the process included the development of deliberative and adaptive responses to opportunities presented to the group and the development of a strong subgroup of participants where decision-making was centered. However, the complexity of the challenge of addressing climate change, funding constraints, competing initiatives, and the lack of common views among participants may have contributed to the group, highlighting the finding that beneficial network structural features and relational patterns are necessary but not sufficient condition for the development of an adaptive co-management process. The context of climate change adaptation may require a different social network structure and processes than other contexts for adaptive co-management to occur, and there may be limitations to adaptive co-management for dealing with super wicked problems.

Network governance from the top: The case of ecosystem-based coastal and marine management

Sandström, A., Ö. Bodin, B. Crona

2015 - Journal / article

Contemporary environmental policy incorporates a collaborative approach, and conservation management commonly denotes the formation of governance networks on the sub-national level. This trend toward networks implies a shift in the mode of public governance since state-centered top-down control is replaced by a primary focus on governing networks from the top. Previous research has studied the performance of collaborative networks while the role of the state in these settings has been acknowledged to a lesser extent. Thus, prevailing knowledge concerning how public agencies can govern networks towards the fulfillment of environmental objectives is restricted. This issue is addressed in this paper through an empirical case study of a state-initiated process aimed at implementing the ideas of ecosystem-based management, by means of collaboration networks, in five coastal regions in Sweden. What governance strategies were adopted by the environmental protection agency, and how can the governance outcome be described in terms of ecosystem-based management and stakeholder support? Based on the empirical findings, the influence of the chosen governance approach on the outcomes is discussed. The results clearly illustrate the particular tradeoffs that occur as various governance strategies interact and how these influence both social and ecological aspects. The application of extensive and rigorous governance strategies enhance the fulfillment of ecosystembased management while vagueness and flexibility enable local adaptation and enhance stakeholder support. Governing networks from the top involve a balancing act, and the idea of fulfilling environmental objectives through the dynamic of network is appealing albeit challenging in practice.

Bodin, Örjan

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201