Reconnecting to the Biosphere
- 3.3k Downloads
Humanity has emerged as a major force in the operation of the biosphere, with a significant imprint on the Earth System, challenging social–ecological resilience. This new situation calls for a fundamental shift in perspectives, world views, and institutions. Human development and progress must be reconnected to the capacity of the biosphere and essential ecosystem services to be sustained. Governance challenges include a highly interconnected and faster world, cascading social–ecological interactions and planetary boundaries that create vulnerabilities but also opportunities for social–ecological change and transformation. Tipping points and thresholds highlight the importance of understanding and managing resilience. New modes of flexible governance are emerging. A central challenge is to reconnect these efforts to the changing preconditions for societal development as active stewards of the Earth System. We suggest that the Millennium Development Goals need to be reframed in such a planetary stewardship context combined with a call for a new social contract on global sustainability. The ongoing mind shift in human relations with Earth and its boundaries provides exciting opportunities for societal development in collaboration with the biosphere—a global sustainability agenda for humanity.
KeywordsSocial–ecological systems Resilience Ecosystem services Natural capital Adaptive governance Planetary stewardship
The article is based on Folke et al. (2011). Reconnecting to the Biosphere, Working Paper No.1. Prepared for the “3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability: Transforming the World in an Era of Global Change”, in Stockholm, 16–19 May 2011. Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact. We acknowledge support from Stiftelsen Futura, Ebba och Sven Schwartz Stiftelse, Kjell and Märta Beijer Foundation, Formas, and Mistra through a core grant to the Stockholm Resilience Centre, a cross-faculty research centre at Stockholm University.
- Armitage, D., F. Berkes, and N. Doubleday (eds.). 2007. Adaptive co-management: Collaboration, learning and multilevel governance. Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
- Bennett, M. 2009. Markets for ecosystem services in China: An exploration of China’s “Eco-compensation” and other market-based environmental policies. Forest Trends. http://www.forest-trends.org.
- Berkes, F., and C. Folke (eds.). 1998. Linking social and ecological systems: Management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bowles, S., S. Durlauf, and K. Hoff (eds.). 2006. Poverty traps. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Boyd, E., and C. Folke (eds.). 2011. Adapting institutions: Governance, complexity and social-ecological resilience. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Brock, W.A., G. Engström, and T. Xepapadeas. 2011. Energy balance climate models and the economics of climate change. Beijer discussion paper 226, The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences http://www.beijer.kva.se.
- Canadell, J.G., C. Le Quéréc, M.R. Raupacha, C.B. Fielde, E.T. Buitenhuise, P. Ciaisf, T.J. Conway, N.P. Gillette, et al. 2007. Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104: 18866–18870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cao, S., B. Zhong, H. Yue, H. Zeng, and J. Zeng. 2009. Development and testing of a sustainable environmental restoration policy on eradicating the poverty trap in China’s Changting County. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 106: 10712–10716.Google Scholar
- Chapin III, F.S., G.P. Kofinas, and C. Folke (eds.). 2009. Principles of ecosystem stewardship: Resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world. New York: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
- Crépin, A.-S., B.H. Walker, S. Polasky, W. Steffen, V. Galáz, C. Folke, and J. Rockström. 2011a. Global dynamics, multiple shocks and resilience—planetary stewardship and catastrophic shifts in the Earth system. Beijer discussion paper series 228. The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
- Crépin, A-S., J. Norberg, and K-G. Mäler. 2011b. Coupled economic-ecological systems with slow and fast dynamics—modelling and analysis method. Ecological Economics 70: 1448–1458.Google Scholar
- Cundill, G., and C. Fabricius. 2010. Monitoring the governance dimension of natural resource comanagement. Ecology and Society 15: 15. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss1/.
- Folke, C., S.R. Carpenter, B.H. Walker, M. Scheffer, F.S. Chapin III, and J. Rockström. 2010. Resilience thinking: integrating resilience, adaptability and transformability. Ecology and Society 15: 20. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol15/iss4/art20/.
- Folke, C., Å. Jansson, J. Larsson, and R. Costanza. 1997. Ecosystem appropriation by cities. Ambio 26: 167–172.Google Scholar
- Folke, C., Å. Jansson, J. Rockström, P. Olsson, S. Carpenter, A-S. Crepín, G. Daily, J. Ebbesson, T. Elmqvist, V. Galaz, F. Moberg, M. Nilsson, H. Österblom, E. Ostrom, Å. Persson, S. Polasky, W. Steffen, B. Walker and F. Westley. 2011. Reconnecting to the biosphere, Working Paper No.1. Prepared for the “3rd Nobel Laureate symposium on global sustainability: Transforming the world in an era of global change”, in Stockholm, 16-19 May 2011. Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact.Google Scholar
- Fraser, E.D.G., and A. Rimas. 2011. The psychology of food riots. Foreign Affairs, January 30.Google Scholar
- Galaz, V., F. Moberg, E.-K. Olsson, E. Paglia, and C. Parker. 2010. Institutional and political leadership dimensions of cascading ecological crises. Public Administration. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9299.2010.01883.x.
- Galaz, V., T. Hahn, P. Olsson, C. Folke, and U. Svedin. 2008. The problem of fit between ecosystems and governance systems: insights and emerging challenges. In The institutional dimensions of global environmental change: Principal findings, future directions, ed. O. Young, L.A. King, and H. Schroeder. Boston, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Grau, H. R., and M. Aide. 2008. Globalization and land-use transitions in Latin America. Ecology and Society 13: 16. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol13/iss2/art16/.
- Gunderson, L.H., C.S. Holling, and S.S. Light (eds.). 1995. Barrier and bridges to the renewal of ecosystems and institutions. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Hanson, C., J. Ranganathan, C. Iceland, and J. Finisdore. 2008. The corporate ecosystem services review (version 1.0). Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.Google Scholar
- Holling, C.S. 2004. From complex regions to complex worlds. Ecology and Society 9: 11. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss1/art11.
- Holling, C.S., F. Berkes, and C. Folke. 1998. Science, sustainability, and resource management. In Linking social and ecological systems: Management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience, ed. F. Berkes, and C. Folke, 342–362. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Jansson, A.M., M. Hammer, C. Folke, and R. Costanza (eds.). 1994. Investing in natural capital: The ecological economics approach to sustainability. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Kareiva, P., H. Tallis, T. Ricketts, G.C. Daily, and S. Polasky (eds.). 2011. Natural capital: Theory & practice of mapping ecosystem services. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Leach, M., I. Scoones, and A. Stirling. 2010. Dynamic sustainabilities: Technology, environment, social justice. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Lugten, G. 2010. The role of international fishery organizations and other bodies in the conservation and management of living aquatic resources. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular. No. 1054. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- MA. 2005. Millennium ecosystem assessment. Ecosystems and human well-being: Synthesis. Washington DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Matysek, K.A. 2009. Resilience and social-ecological systems: The UNESCO biosphere reserve program in Australia and Canada. PhD-Thesis, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania.Google Scholar
- Mitchell, R., W.C. Clark, D.W. Cash, and N.M. Dickson (eds.). 2006. Global environmental assessments: Information and influence. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Nilsson, M., and Å. Persson. 2011. Governance and institutions within the planetary boundaries: A backcasting methodology and example. Ecological Economics (in press).Google Scholar
- Nordhaus, W.D., and J. Boyer. 2000. Warming the world: Economic models of global warming. Boston: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- O’Brien, K. 2009. Do values subjectively define the limits to climate change adaptation? In Adapting to climate change: Thresholds, values, governance, ed. W.N. Adger, I. Lorenzoni, and K. O’Brien, 164–180. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- O’Brien, K., B. Hayward, and F. Berkes. 2009. Rethinking social contracts: Building resilience in a changing climate. Ecology and Society 14: 12. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art12/.
- Odum, E.P. 1989. Ecology and our endangered life-support systems. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates.Google Scholar
- Olsson, P., and V. Galaz. 2009. Transitions to adaptive approaches to water management and governance in Sweden. In Understanding transitions in water management, ed. D. Huitema, and S. Meijerink. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
- Österblom, H., and U.R. Sumaila. 2011. Toothfish crises, actor diversity and the emergence of compliance mechanisms in the Southern Ocean. Global Environmental Change 21: 972–982.Google Scholar
- Polasky, S., S.R. Carpenter, C. Folke, and B. Keeler. 2011a. Decision-making under great uncertainty: Environmental management in an era of global change. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26: 398–404.Google Scholar
- Polasky, S., A. de Zeeuw, and F. Wagener. 2011b. Optimal management with potential regime shifts. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 62: 229–240.Google Scholar
- Rosling, H. 2010. Gapminder, for a fact-based worldview. http://www.gapminder.org/.
- Scheffer, M. 2009. Critical transitions in nature and society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Steffen, W., Å. Persson, L. Deutsch, J. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, K. Richardson, C. Crumley, P. Crutzen, et al. 2011. The Anthropocene: From global change to planetary stewardship. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0185-x.
- Steneck, R.S., T.P. Hughes, J.E. Cinner, W.N. Adger, S.N. Arnold, S. Boudreau, K. Brown, F. Berkes, et al. 2011. The gilded trap of Maine’s lobster fishery: A cautionary tale. Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01717x.
- Stern, N. 2006. Review on the economics of climate change. H.M. Treasury, UK, October. http://www.sternreview.org.uk.
- TEEB. 2011. The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity in national and international policy making. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- UNEP. 2011. The green economy initiative. http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/.
- Voigt, C. 2008. Sustainable development as a principle of international law: resolving conflicts between climate measures and WTO law. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Google Scholar
- Walker, B.H., and J.A. Meyers. 2004. Thresholds in ecological and social-ecological systems: a developing database. Ecology and Society 9: 3. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol9/iss2/art3.
- Walker, B.H., J.M. Anderies, A.P. Kinzig, and P. Ryan. 2006. Exploring resilience in social-ecological systems through comparative studies and theory development: introduction to the special issue. Ecology and Society 11: 12. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art12/.
- Walker, B.H., N. Abel, J.M. Anderies, and P. Ryan. 2009a. Resilience, adaptability, and transformability in the Goulburn-Broken Catchment, Australia. Ecology and Society 14: 12. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss1/art12/.
- Wennberg DiGasper, S. 2006. Already adaptive? An investigation of the performance of Swedish moose management organizations. Licentiate thesis 2006:09, Luleå University of Technology, p. 133.Google Scholar
- Westley, F., P. Olsson, C. Folke, T. Homer-Dixon, H. Vredenburg, D. Loorbach, J. Thompson, M. Nilsson, et al. 2011. Tipping toward sustainability: Emerging pathways of transformation. Ambio. doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0186-9.
- World Resources Institute. 2008. Roots of resilience: Growing the wealth of the poor?. Washington, DC: World Resource Institute.Google Scholar
- Young, O.R., L.A. King, and H. Schroeder (eds.). 2008. The institutional dimensions of global environmental change: Principal findings and future directions. Boston, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar