Carl is currently on leave from his Chair in Natural Resource Management at the Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, a position he held since 1997 where he is still active as supervisor.
He served as Deputy Director of the Beijer Institute 1991-1996 and Director of Stockholm University's Center for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (CTM) 1999-2006. He is among the founders of the Resilience Alliance and serves on the Executive Committee. He has been involved in the development of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) and was engaged in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.
Carl has extensive experience in transdisciplinary collaboration between natural and social scientists, and has worked with ecosystem dynamics and services as well as the social and economic dimension of ecosystem management and proactive measures to manage resilience.
The work of his research group in Stockholm emphasizes the role that living systems at different scales play in social and economic development and how to govern and manage for resilience in integrated social-ecological systems. In 1995 he received the Pew Scholar Award in Conservation and the Environment and in 2004 the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America.
He has co-authored and edited 10 and written over 200 scientific papers, including 15 in Science and Nature. Carl shares the position as Editor in Chief of Ecology and Society with Lance Gunderson, since January 2002 and serves on the editorial board of fifteen international journals.
Carl is elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 2002 and serves on its Environmental Research Committee. He is currently on the Board of the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Scientific Advisory Board of the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS), Scientific Advisory Board of the STEPS Centre, UK, the Steering Committee of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Leeds University/London School of Economics, the Scientific Committee of the Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), ICSU and of the Volvo Environment Prize.
He serves as Associate Faculty of the Earth System Governance Project, and on the Advisory Board to the research group Innovation in Governance, Centre for Technology & Society (ZTG), Technische Universität Berlin, and to the International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS-Net).
He has among other things served as Secretary of ISEE for about 5 years, as adviser to the Swedish Government and collaborated with several UN organizations on issues like biodiversity, ecosystem services, freshwater management, and sustainable cities.
He has also served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), Santa Barbara, California, the Scientific Committee of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and boards and committees of research councils and various organizations in Sweden.
Carl has organized several major international conferences and workshops; he is in charge of the Stockholm Seminar: Frontiers in Sustainability Science and Policy; he has given numerous invited speaker presentations world wide; numerous public lectures, policy seminars and interviews in media. His research has been widely reported in Swedish and international media.
Research news | 2016-12-14
“Keystone dialogue" between scientists and seafood-industry leaders creates breakthrough in ocean stewardship
Research news | 2016-12-01
Science director Carl Folke summarises more than 40 years of resilience research and why it is more relevant than ever
Research news | 2016-11-02
How much more fishing, nutrient pollution and climate change can the world’s coral reefs endure?
Research news | 2016-10-17
An integrated perspective of humans-in-nature more important than ever for both science and development
2016 - Journal / article
Anthropogenic changes to the Earth now rival those caused by the forces of nature and have shepherded us into a new planetary epoch – the Anthropocene. Such changes include profound and often unexpected alterations to coral reef ecosystems and the services they provide to human societies. Ensuring that reefs and their services endure during the Anthropocene will require that key drivers of coral reef change – fishing, water qu...
2016 - Journal / article
Climate change, biodiversity loss, antibiotic resistance, and other global challenges pose major collective action problems: A group benefits from a certain action, but no individual has sufficient incentive to act alone. Formal institutions, e.g., laws and treaties, have helped address issues like ozone depletion, lead pollution, and acid rain. However, formal institutions are not always able to enforce collectively desirable...
2016 - Journal / article
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...