Joint SEC lecture / KLI colloquium, 08.10.2021

Manavanur village, Tamil Nadu, India, 2008, Tim Waring

Evolutionary Approaches to Social-Ecological Change



Evolutionary and adaptive change are general processes that apply to a wide range of systems, including genetic, environmental and cultural systems. But, although evolutionary thinking may assist in the study of social-ecological systems, applying evolutionary logic to social-ecological systems remains a challenge. Our KLI working group proposes to explore, extend, and enrich the connections between evolutionary theory and social-ecological change. Tim Waring will argue that one useful aspect of evolutionary approaches is in their ability to describe unwanted outcomes with useful detail because what evolves may not be what is desirable. Tim will share examples of the application of evolutionary thinking to social-ecological system processes, and some posit some forward-looking questions and goals on the topic. Maja Schlüter will briefly talk about complexity-based social-ecological systems research and its approaches to social-ecological change such as natural resource collapse or governance transformation. Given the growing interest in theorizing change processes as the field is maturing, she will reflect on how evolutionary theory may help explain and theorize the emergence of social-ecological phenomena.

Presentation: Maja Schlüter, Tim Waring

Facilitator: Guido Caniglia, KLI

Discussants: Simone Gingrich, Martin Schmid, SEC

Maja Schlüter
Maja Schlüter's research focuses on mechanisms of change in social-ecological systems in the context of natural resource management and on conceptual and methodological foundations of social-ecological systems research. She applies a complexity perspective and combines place-based empirical research with agent-based modelling to understand how social-ecological systems unfold from intertwined social and ecological processes, with particular emphasis on the importance of context and cross-scale dynamics. She leads an interdisciplinary group of researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre that collaborate to co-create understanding of social-ecological phenomena that benefits from multiple perspectives.

Tim Waring
Tim Waring studies how culture determines the patterns of cooperation that drive social and environmental outcomes. He uses evolutionary models and behavioral experiments to learn how sustainable behaviors and durable institutions arise and persist. He leads an international network of scientists seeking to develop and refine evolutionary approaches to sustainability and apply them to case studies around the world. Waring's research touches on factors that influence sustainability in areas from forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and local food, to invasive species, carbon emissions, and climate change.


Time/Place: October 8, 2021 02:00 PM Vienna, Zoom

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