Photo: A. Löf/Azote

Photo: A. Löf/Azote

Global dynamics

This theme looks at how local and regional drivers can generate global-scale challenges like crises in energy, food, and water

Researchers have greatly advanced our understanding of the Anthropocene by mapping and quantifying linkages of many biophysical components at the planetary scale. However, we still have a poor understanding of social-ecological connectivity at the global scale. The pace and extent of global changes means there is a pressing need to develop our understanding of how social processes are interconnected and how they drive and interact with the processes of the biosphere at multiple scales.

Our research on these global dynamics is organized under the multi-organizational initiative "Changing Planet". 'Changing Planet' is an umbrella initiative to jointly coordinate global research at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and the Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere Programme at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is a response to the need for improved understanding of global and cross-scale processes and interactions between our Earth’s social and ecological components. This knowledge can improve our ability to realize sustainable stewardship of the biosphere.

Stockholm Resilience Centre's global research under this initiative aims to provide a platform to develop this knowledge, making use of the diverse methodological toolboxes and skillsets of the contributing research programs and their international partners.

Our research is centered around three broad questions:

How is the human enterprise shaping the biosphere, from local to global scales?

How do we better understand critical emerging risks and opportunities created by novel interconnections between human activities and the biosphere? 

And how can we become better stewards of planet Earth?

Theme contact

Staff details

Theme contacts

Theme contacts

Anne-Sophie Crépin

Sarah Cornell (Coordinator Planetary Boundaries)

Victor Galaz (Deputy Science Director)



Horses for courses: analytical tools to explore planetary boundaries

van Vuuren, D. P., P. L. Lucas, T. Häyhä, S. E. Cornell, M. Stafford-Smith

2016 - Journal / article

There is a need for more integrated research on sustainable development and global environmental change. In this paper, we focus on the planetary boundaries framework to provide a systematic categorization of key research questions in relation to avoiding severe global environmental degradation. The four categories of key questions are those that relate to (1) the underlying processes and selection of key indicators for planetary boundaries, (2) understanding the impacts of environmental pressure and connections between different types of impacts, (3) better understanding of different response strategies to avoid further degradation, and (4) the available instruments to implement such strategies. Clearly, different categories of scientific disciplines and associated model types exist that can accommodate answering these questions. We identify the strength and weaknesses of different research areas in relation to the question categories, focusing specifically on different types of models. We discuss that more interdisciplinary research is need to increase our understanding by better linking human drivers and social and biophysical impacts. This requires better collaboration between relevant disciplines (associated with the model types), either by exchanging information or by fully linking or integrating them. As fully integrated models can become too complex, the appropriate type of model (the racehorse) should be applied for answering the target research question (the race course).


The Global Economic Dynamics and the biosphere programme (GEBD)

GEDB looks at the economic dynamics of global change and its implications for a sustainable future. Read more here

Seeds of a good Anthropocene

Efforts to envision a more positive future seldom receive the same attention as those that show a more pessimistic future. Seeds of a good Anthropocene gathers examples of a thriving sustainable social-ecological future. 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

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

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201