Social-Ecological Systems

Summary of my environmental science

My environmental science session revolves around linked social-ecological systems, or coupled complex human-natural systems. In most cases, it touches six key transformative dimensions in the study of adaptive resilience and ecosystem stewardship in social-ecological systems. These are:

  1. Human cognition and mental representations: cognitive dimensions of decision-making and sustainability perceptions, including dispositions, attitudes, beliefs and aspirations at the individual level. In addition, the study of how mental models of perception and knowledge representation influences our individual behavior and the patterns of our actions.
  2. Social networks and social interactions: this dimension focuses on the study of the multiple ways in which citizens and community members form groups and engage in social interactions. Further more, how such connectedness establishes and enables information and knowledge flows across many situations and social-ecological settings.
  3. Communities of practice: this dimension involves the study of distinct groups, institutions and organizations, and how these communities of practice engage in collective decision making and evolve towards sustainable governance of the environmental commons.
  4. Stewardship dynamics: what are the social, ecological, institutional and policy dimensions that inhibit or encourage the establishment and persistence of stewardship towards sustainable and resilient futures and environmentally-beneficial outcomes.
  5. Information-to-knowledge transformations: this dimension focus on the study of the inherent complexity that determines and critically affects the information-to-knowledge transformative pathways. Complex knowledge mental systems affect and being affected by our sense of place, space, society and culture.
  6. Knowledge to adaptive action: how knowledge systems and their complex dynamics enable creation and evolution of adaptive actions and strategies toward social-ecological resilience.
Figure: Six key dimensions for adaptive resilience in social-ecological systems

1. Human cognition and mental representations

2. Social networks and social interactions

3. Communities of practice

4. The dynamics of stewardship and social emergence

5. Information-to-knowledge transformations

6. Knowledge to adaptive action