Building Transformative Capacity for Ecosystem Stewardship in Social–Ecological Systems

  • Per OlssonEmail author
  • Örjan Bodin
  • Carl Folke
Part of the Springer Series on Environmental Management book series (SSEM)


We use a “resilience lens” to identify gaps in the understanding of capacity to transform social-ecological systems’ (SES) trajectories toward ecosystem stewardship and highlight some challenges that need to be addressed. We draw on the organizational evolution literature in combination with the latest insights on SES transformations to give a more detailed understanding of what constitute transformative capacity. Two case studies illustrate the possibilities and challenges. SES transformations require knowledge and skills that can link ecosystem and social system dynamics, and develop strategies to overcome barriers and enable institutional changes that foster transformations. We identify some criteria that seem important for developing a framework for analyzing transformations and assessing transformative capacity in social-ecological systems. These criteria include experimentation and innovation, agency and social networks, opportunity context, diversity, boundaries, and collaboration.


Great Barrier Reef Regime Shift Transformative Capacity Marine Park Ecological Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stockholm Resilience CentreStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.The Beijer InstituteThe Royal Swedish Academy of SciencesStockholmSweden

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