The research stream on Biosphere stewardship originates in the realization that humans can, and need to, act in concert with the living systems we depend on (the biosphere). Our research explores what kind of knowledge systems, values, management practices, behaviors, and governance arrangements that build sustainability in an increasingly interconnected and turbulent world.
The concept of biosphere stewardship directs attention to human-nature relationships that generate positive outcomes for biodiversity and ecosystem services, emphasizing notions of care, learning and collaboration.
We build on our strong legacy of place-based studies of social-ecological systems, and the insight that in the Anthropocene, stewardship needs to be studied and enacted beyond the local scale. Biosphere stewardship can emerge in traditional as well as modernized societies, at local to global levels, and in urban as well as rural settings. It is a process that engages individuals, communities, networks, organizations and institutions in shared visions, building capacity to live with change, adapt and transform. In order to understand coupled social-ecological dynamics, our research engages with actors at diverse levels and mobilizes multiple sources of evidence and experience.
Research in this stream combines research on ecosystem dynamics, e.g. the role of functional diversity, fast and slow variables and regime shifts, and aspects of interrelated social dynamics including e.g. emergence of ecosystem based management and adaptive governance, social learning, strategic interventions to influence behavior, and changes in norms and institutions conducive with stewardship.
The cultural dimension of complex adaptive social-ecological systems is also part of this stream, and spans from research involving traditional societies, to recent developments in the area of cultural ecosystem services.
Research in this stream encourage explorations of methods that enable new ways to study social-ecological systems as inherently interlinked in time and space, including mixed methods and tools and approaches for co-constructing knowledge with actors at multiple scales.
Research news | 2018-12-09
Amid transitions from swidden agriculture to market-driven oil palm plantations, women remain disadvantaged when it comes to access to land, labour and social capital
Research news | 2018-11-02
Ghana’s unique female intermediaries are increasingly squeezed out by global seafood companies
Research news | 2018-10-30
Centre contributes to new WWF report which reveals staggering extent of human impact on planet
Research news | 2018-10-10
But it requires a global shift towards healthy and more plant-based diets, halving food loss and waste, say researchers
Research news | 2018-10-09
Why scientists need to pay more attention to the behaviour and interactions of resource users
Research news | 2018-09-25
Seven steps towards increasing environmental science’s influence on policy and practice
2019 - Journal / article
Stewardship is a popular term for describing action in pursuit of sustainability. There is growing interest in how relational values, such as care, animate stewardship action. In this paper we develop relational understandings of care in stewardship, in so doing infusing the relational values literature with modes of ‘relational thinking’ increasingly adopted in sustainability science. We use three theoretical perspectives — d...
2019 - Journal / article
The rapid expansion of hybrid maize in the uplands of northern Laos is viewed by the government as meeting policy aims related to green economic development. Yet, growing evidence of negative consequences of maize expansion are emerging. Based on farmers’ perceptions, we study: (1) farmers’ reasons for adopting and abandoning maize, and; (2) implications of commercial maize expansion on local livelihood security and inclusiven...
2018 - Policy brief or report
This Report provides a critical assessment of the full range of issues facing decision-makers, including the importance, status, trends and threats to biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, as well as policy and management response options. Establishing the underlying causes of the loss of biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people provides policymakers with the information needed to develop appropriate re...
This project aims to identify determinants of successful co-management processes embracing the guiding principles of ecosystem-based management Read more here