R. Kautsky/Azote

Photo: R. Kautsky/Azote


This theme looks at freshwater, food and ecosystem services in dynamic social-ecological landscapes

Water is the bloodstream of the biosphere that makes agricultural activities possible. Agricultural land use now covers large parts of the terrestrial planetary surface. While producing food for a growing world population, it also pushes against many of the planetary boundaries and thus impairing social-ecological resilience.

This theme works on a range of scales, from local landscapes to analysis of global freshwater and agricultural changes, and cross-scale teleconnections. It focuses particularly on operationalising resilience in relation to the water-food-poverty nexus in semi-arid to dry sub-humid parts of the world. Theme members have substantial fieldwork in e.g. the West African Sahel, India, Tanzania and South Africa.

The theme also looks at relationships among multiple ecosystem services and how these can generate synergies or trade-offs between e.g. food production, carbon sequestration, and water availability.

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Suitability of Water Harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia: A First Step towards a Mesoscale Hydrological Modeling Framework

Dile, Y.T., Rockström, J., Karlberg, L.

2016 - Journal / article

Extreme rainfall variability has been one of the major factors to famine and environmental degradation in Ethiopia. The potential for water harvesting in the Upper Blue Nile Basin was assessed using two GIS-based Multicriteria Evaluation methods: (1) a Boolean approach to locate suitable areas for in situ and ex situ systems and (2) a weighted overlay analysis to classify suitable areas into different water harvesting suitability levels. The sensitivity of the results was analyzed to the influence given to different constraining factors. A large part of the basin was suitable for water harvesting: the Boolean analysis showed that 36% of the basin was suitable for in situ and ex situ systems, while the weighted overlay analysis showed that 6–24% of the basin was highly suitable. Rainfall has the highest influence on suitability for water harvesting. Implementing water harvesting in nonagricultural land use types may further increase the benefit. Assessing water harvesting suitability at the larger catchment scale lays the foundation for modeling of water harvesting at mesoscale, which enables analysis of the potential and implications of upscaling of water harvesting practices for building resilience against climatic shocks. A complete water harvesting suitability study requires socioeconomic analysis and stakeholder consultation.


The re-greening of Sahel

The West African Sahel is as a region of particular interest in the context of environment and development. This project looks at how  climatic variability and why change happens in some regions while not in others. Read more here

Social-ecological systems (SES), are characterized by multi-scale
interactions among actors and ecosystems. SES-Link investigates these linkages and how they affect resilience and governance. Read more here

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

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