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New workbook on analysing social-ecological inventories

Helps develop a systematic mapping of actors and their activities in a region.


See whiteboard seminar video above with Lisen Schultz explaining the concept of social-ecological inventories and how to apply it.

Centre researcher Lisen Schultz has together with Ryan Plummer (Centre Senior Fellow and Brock University) and Samantha Purdy (Brock University) in Canada developed a new workbook which describes a method for social-ecological inventories (SEI).

The social-ecological inventory workbookPDF (pdf, 568 kB) helps identify the actors that potentially contribute to the resilience of a region.

"The inventory method serves as a preparation and supplement to a more elaborative resilience assessment. This preparation is of mutual benefit to facilitators, conveners and participants: The convener gets pre-understanding of the key actors in a region and what they would bring to the table, and the participants get a pre-understanding of what to expect from engaging in the resilience assessment," Lisen Schultz explains.

How it all came about
During her PhD research, Lisen Schultz, together with colleagues Per Olsson and Carl Folke, developed a method to identify local stewards in the landscape - a social-ecological inventory - arguing that such inventories should be useful in the preparatory phase of all projects concerning biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.

Hypotheses on what enabled Kristianstad Vattenrike in Sweden, a former "water logged swamp" that has become a UNESCO model for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, to become so successful were then tested in a survey of 146 biosphere reserves.

Results indicated that biosphere reserve offices have the potential to act as bridging organizations, and when they do, they are more likely to fulfil the multiple objectives of biodiversity conservation, local development, and generation of ecosystem services.

Schultz's research caught Ryan Plummer's attention during the defence of her PhD - Nurturing Resilience in Social-Ecological SystemsPDF (pdf, 4.2 MB).

Robust, practical and elegantly simple
Plummer considers the idea of a social-ecological inventory to be "conceptually robust, informed by practical experience, and elegantly simple."

“Building upon Lisen's and her centre colleagues' work was a logical course of action when our team in Canada was entering the preparation phase of our research project on local climate change adaptation. Given the instructiveness of the approach in both the Swedish and Canadian contexts, we collectively engaged in a workshop to explore the utility of social-ecological inventories in other Biosphere Reserves and beyond," Plummer says.

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Related info

Lisen Schultz holds a Schwartz Research Position since January 2011. Her research aims at deepening understanding of conditions and strategies that enable resilience-based management of landscapes and seascapes. Her work focuses on the role of bridging actors, who catalyze collaboration and learning across levels and sectors in adaptive co-management.


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