Photo: U. Grünbaum/Azote


Governance of social-ecological systems under change in Mälardalen, Sweden

Ekoklim is an inter-disciplinary research programme at Stockholm University financed by FORMAS, 2010-2014, consisting of four different sub-programs;

i) Landscape processes
ii) Biodiversity
iii)Ecosystem services
iv) Adaptive governance

The programme is hosted by six departments and the overarching aim of the research is to investigate how climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem services and how these can be managed in the Mälardalen region, Sweden. Read more about EKOKLIM here

Ekoklim 4 - Adaptive governance
Changes such as climate change, urbanisation and economic instability, do not only impact ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem services, but also creates large challenges for policy makers and societal planners.

The main aim of Ekoklim 4 is to investigate institutional and organisational aspects of governance under changing ecological and social conditions. What strategies and changes are applied by different actors at different societal levels in the light of climate change and what is the impact on the generation of ecosystem services in the landscape?

Stockholm Resilience Centre is hosting Ekoklim 4.

Svensk version: EKOKLIM 4 — Förvaltning av social-ekologiska system under förändring i Mälardalen

Multi-level governance
An empirical case study of the governance of lake Mälaren and its ecosystem services investigating the adaptive capacity of institutions and governance given climate change and urbanisation. We use in depth interviews of public officials and private actors working with water management and policy to develop an understanding the knowledge generation, the feedback and learning mechanisms, and the barriers and incentives for ecological knowledge to enter policy making. (Björn Nykvist, Sara Borgström, Emily Boyd)

The concept of ecosystem services in Swedish environmental practice
The ecosystem services concept is booming in present day Swedish environmental work. The study aims to examine how decision makers and clerks at national, regional and local level in Sweden perceive the concept, its strengths and weaknesses, especially in relation to nature conservation and urban planning. (Sara Borgström

Ecosystem services and social learning in agricultural landscapes
1) Valuation of ecosystems services. Methodological development aimed at assessing the presence and value attached to ecosystems services in the agricultural landscape in the Mälardalen region. We combine ecological and social science research methods to assess the quantity of ecosystem services and level of biodiversity in contrasting agricultural landscapes, and compare these results with the expressed valuation of these ecosystems services. (Björn Nykvist et al.)

2) Social learning
Studying the role of social learning among farmers managing the agricultural landscape in central Sweden. In depth interviews investigates to what extent such collaborative learning between different actors both fosters and hinders natural resource management that meet the national environmental goals. (Björn Nykvist et al.)

Boundaries in the landscape
Boundaries are universal and are of great importance for landscape management. This is an inter-discplinary investigation of challenges and potentials in approaching the multitude of boundaries of relevance when landscapes are to be managed. (Sara Borgström, Björn Nykvist, Emily Boyd et al.)

Assessing ecosystem based management
Methodological development of a high resolution tool to better evaluate progress towards ecosystem based management — to what degree are different ecosystem components acknowledged across the management phases? (Sara Borgström, Örjan Bodin et al.)

The concept of adaptive governance
1) Adaptive governance
Investigating the discourse on adaptive capacity and adaptability in the literature on social-ecological systems and resilience. We explore the development of theory and use of the concept adaptive capacity and its relation to resilience, investigating some of the normative critiques and how these concept relate to agency.(Björn Nykvist et al.).

2) Geneaology of adaptation
Exploring common frameworks of risk, uncertainty and resilience in a genealogy of adaptation. Genealogy is a systematic method for analysing conceptual change that unfolds within a field of thinking. We analyse some of the dynamics of thinking within the field and charter the tacit assumptions and thinking that underpins adaptation science. We explore what this might mean in terms of policy framing in the context of Ekoklim. (Emily Boyd, Björn Nykvist).

3) Anticipatory Governance
Examining the role of anticipatory governance as complementary to collaborative, multilevel, institutional fit in adaptive governance. This has relevance for policy and planners in managing ecosystems services under climate change. (Emily Boyd, Björn Nykvist)

Matching ecology and society
The focus in this set of studies is largely captured by the issue of the "problem of fit". We ask whether the scale of spatial and temporal ecological processes match or mismatch the various management and governance processes and institutions. We operationalize this research agenda by focusing on explicit relations among social and ecological systems. This attention yields conceptual, methodological and theoretical development of how different patterns of interdependences in coupled social-ecological systems lead to different governance challenges and opportunities. The different case studies we are investigating range from inter-municipality collaboration in green area planning in Stockholm, integrated coastal zone management in different sites in Sweden, global patterns of environmental- and policy interdependencies among states in the coral reef triangle, and disentangling the effects of various patterns of interdependencies between fishing communities, market and fishing sites across the globe. (Örjan Bodin, Diego Galafassi, Stuart Kininmonth, Arvid Bergsten)

National and international collaborations
Critical to the Ekoklim 4 research is a close dialogue with actors in Mälardalen region that are involved in environmental and societal issues. Special acknowledging municipalities, county administrative boards, the Mälardalen water collaboration and many other regional actors that assist in our data collection. In Nacka municipality we are involved in and do research in relation to the project "Ekotjänster i Nacka" (2013-2014), financed by the Swedish government. Our focus on the governance of ecosystems and climate extend beyond the Mälardalen region to the international context.

The international work also involves building collaborative linkages in Africa e.g. Sudan, Mozambique, and India where ecosystems, climate and governance systems face a different set of pressing issues and potential solutions, for example through recently funded Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (University of Reading and Oxford University) on Ecosystem Limits.

Comparative work is also ongoing with Oxford University exploring the role of governance in adaptation and mitigation with comparative European case studies. The studies in implementation of the concept of ecosystem services are performed in collaboration with Helsinki University and the research programme ENSURE


    Adaptive governance, networks and learning
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Stockholm Resilience Centre

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