Garry

Peterson

Professor, Environmental Sciences

Theme leader, Regime shifts and implications in social-ecological systems
Head of Subject in Sustainability Science

+46 737 078 592

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Staff profile

Garry Peterson is a Professor in Environmental Sciences, Theme Leader in Regime shifts and implications in social-ecological systems, and Head of Subject in Sustainability Science at the centre

Profile summary

Dr. Peterson has a degree in Systems Design Engineering for the University of Waterloo, Canada and received a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1999

He is a board member of the Resilience Alliance, subject editor for Ecology and Society, and was a coordinating lead author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

He has authored or co- authored over 30 scientific articles and 25 book chapters

Garry Peterson is Professor in Environmental Sciences with key focus on resilience in social-ecological systems.

While people depend upon the benefits they receive from nature, our actions are undercutting the ability of nature to produce these benefits.  

Dr. Peterson's research addresses this problem by working to improve people's ability to ensure a reliable supply of the ecosystem services that support human well-being.  He uses complex systems theory, spatial analysis, and the synthesis of social and ecological data, to develop theory and practical understanding that people can use to better manage the ecosystems they live within.

His specific research areas are:
1) understanding of how abrupt changes can occur in social- ecological systems

2) interactions among ecosystem services over time and across space

3) connecting quantitative models and narrative based scenario planning

Dr. Peterson has a degree in Systems Design Engineering for the University of Waterloo, Canada and received a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1999.  Following post-doctoral positions at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara and the Centre for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, he has been an assistant professor jointly appointed in the Department of Geography and the McGill School of the Environment at McGill University in Canada since 2003, where he held a Canada Research Chair.

He has taught adaptive management, environmental modelling, and environmental research courses.  He has been at the Stockholm Resilience Centre since summer 2008.  He also has a 20% position in Physical Geography at Stockholm University.

He is a board member of the Resilience Alliance, subject editor for Ecology and Society, and was a coordinating lead author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.  In 2008 he received the Ecological society of America's Sustainability Science. He has authored or co- authored over 30 scientific articles and 25 book chapters.

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Publications by Peterson, Garry

Bright spots: seeds of a good Anthropocene

Bennett EM, Solan M, Biggs R, McPhearson T, Norström AV, Olsson P, Pereira L, Peterson GD, Raudsepp-Hearne C, Biermann F, Carpenter SR, Ellis EC, Hichert T, Galaz V, Lahsen M, Milkoreit M, López BM, Nicholas KA, Preiser R, Vince G, Vervoort JM, Xu J.

2016 - Journal / article

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.


Measuring and assessing resilience: Broadening understanding through multiple disciplinary perspectives

Quinlan, A.E., M. Berbés-Blázquez, L.J. Haider, G.D. Peterson

2015 - Journal / article

Increased interest in managing resilience has led to efforts to develop standardized tools for assessments and quantitative measures. Resilience, however, as a property of complex adaptive systems, does not lend itself easily to measurement. Whereas assessment approaches tend to focus on deepening understanding of system dynamics, resilience measurement aims to capture and quantify resilience in a rigorous and repeatable way. We discuss the strengths, limitations and trade-offs involved in both assessing and measuring resilience, as well as the relationship between the two. We use a range of disciplinary perspectives to draw lessons on distilling complex concepts into useful metrics. Measuring and monitoring a narrow set of indicators or reducing resilience to a single unit of measurement may block the deeper understanding of system dynamics needed to apply resilience thinking and inform management actions. Resilience assessment and measurement can be complementary. In both cases it is important that: (i) the approach aligns with how resilience is being defined, (ii) the application suits the specific context and (iii) understanding of system dynamics is increased. Ongoing efforts to measure resilience would benefit from the integration of key principles that have been identified for building resilience.


Peterson, Garry

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
SE-10691
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70
info@stockholmresilience.su.se

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201

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