Joern Fischer

Joern Fischer
Leuphana University Lüneburg · Faculty of Sustainability

PhD

About

285
Publications
167,328
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
23,647
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2000 - October 2010
Australian National University
Position
  • Fellow

Publications

Publications (285)
Article
Strategies to address the current unsustainable trajectory of our planet require deep transformations. The leverage points perspective can support such efforts for transformative change by motivating more research combining empirical and theoretical frameworks to understand the dynamics of complex social–ecological systems. We argue that the levera...
Article
Full-text available
Growing global interconnections facilitate inter-regional flows of ecosystem services (ES). Several studies have focused on the opportunities, risks, and governance of telecoupled ES. However, considerable theoretical, methodological, and empirical gaps exist regarding how future demand for ES will shape trajectories of land use change, the bundles...
Article
Full-text available
The population–environment–food nexus is a sustainability challenge for the Global South, and for Africa in particular, where rapid human population growth typically overlaps with high levels of food insecurity and environmental degradation. In this context, it is important to understand the reasons driving high fertility in these regions. Here, we...
Article
Full-text available
Landscape simplification is a worldwide phenomenon that impacts biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Humans benefit greatly from nature's contributions to people in both material and immaterial ways, yet landscape simplification can undermine these contributions. Landscape simplification can have negative consequences, for example, for human-na...
Article
Full-text available
Transformation toward a sustainable future requires an earth stewardship approach to shift society from its current goal of increasing material wealth to a vision of sustaining built, natural, human, and social capital—equitably distributed across society, within and among nations. Widespread concern about earth’s current trajectory and support for...
Article
Full-text available
The increasing frequency of extreme events, exogenous and endogenous, poses challenges for our societies. The current pandemic is a case in point; but "once-in-a-century" weather events are also becoming more common, leading to erosion, wildfire and even volcanic events that change ecosystems and disturbance regimes, threaten the sustainability of...
Article
Full-text available
Social-ecological interactions have been shown to generate interrelated and reoccurring sets of ecosystem services, also known as ecosystem service bundles. Given the potential utility of the bundles concept, along with the recent surge in interest it is timely to reflect on the concept, its current use and potential for the future. Based on our ec...
Article
Full-text available
A leverage points perspective recognises different levels of systemic depth, ranging from the relatively shallow levels of parameters and feedbacks to the deeper levels of system design and intent. Analysing a given social-ecological system for its characteristics across these four levels of systemic depth provides a useful diagnostic to better und...
Article
Most assessments of ecosystem services to date are aggregate assessments. Despite their usefulness as a first approximation of how nature is valuable to people, they can obscure important inter- and intragenerational equity issues, which are vital in a policy context, particularly with regard to sustainability. In this conceptual paper, we aim to s...
Article
Full-text available
Context Human disturbances can have large impacts on forest structure and biodiversity, and thereby result in forest degradation, a property difficult to detect by remote sensing. Objectives To investigate spatial variation in anthropogenic disturbances and their effects on forest structure and biodiversity. Methods In 144 plots of 20 × 20 m dist...
Article
Full-text available
Context Human disturbances can have large impacts on forest structure and biodiversity, and thereby result in forest degradation, a property difficult to detect by remote sensing. Objectives To investigate spatial variation in anthro-pogenic disturbances and their effects on forest structure and biodiversity. Methods In 144 plots of 20 9 20 m distr...
Article
Full-text available
We studied food security and biodiversity conservation from a social-ecological perspective in southwestern Ethiopia. Specialist tree, bird, and mammal species required large, undisturbed forest, supporting the notion of ‘land sparing’ for conservation. However, our findings also suggest that forest areas should be embedded within a multifunctional...
Article
Full-text available
1. Relational values recently emerged as a concept to comprehensively understand and communicate the many values of nature. Relational values can be defined as preferences and principles about human–nature relationships and focus both on human–nature connections and well as human–human connections. 2. Here, drawing on 819 face-to-face questionnaire...
Article
Full-text available
Despite concerted efforts, achieving the goal of universal food security remains challenging. Food security interventions occur at different levels of systemic depth. Some interventions target visible supply-side gaps, while others focus on deeper systemic problems in the food system. Here, we used a leverage points perspective to ask how multiple...
Article
Full-text available
Ensuring food security while also protecting biodiversity requires a governance system that can address intra- and intersectoral complexity. In this paper, we sought to explore the governance challenges surrounding food security and biodiversity conservation through an empirical study in Jimma zone, southwestern Ethiopia. We used bottom-up snowball...
Article
Ecosystem services are essential to human well-being. Different mechanisms modify people’s access to the benefits from ecosystem services, but who benefits from which services, and the underlying factors that shape such variability, often remain unclear. To address this, we surveyed current and past ecosystem service flows from forest and farmland...
Article
Projections of human population growth for 2050 indicate that Africa is expected to steadily increase its rural population, raising questions on how to best accommodate people while minimizing impacts on biodiversity. We explored the outcomes of scenarios of rural population growth mediated by housing development. We designed our scenarios based on...
Article
Full-text available
Fostering human-wildlife coexistence requires transdisciplinary approaches that integrate multiple sectors, account for complexity and uncertainty, and ensure stakeholder participation. One such approach is participatory scenario planning, but to date, this approach has not been used in human-wildlife contexts. We devised a template for how partici...
Article
Full-text available
Context Human-dominated landscapes in the tropics need to be managed for biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem services (ES). Nevertheless, integrating both biodiversity conservation and ES management remains a challenge. Objectives This study aimed to quantify woody plant species diversity and associated ES in farmland and forests, and in...
Article
Full-text available
Living with wild mammals is a critical challenge globally, especially in mixed-use landscapes such as Transfrontier Conservation Areas that aim to conserve wildlife as well as implement programs to improve livelihoods. The success of such initiatives depends on local communities willingness to tolerate potential costs from wildlife. However, the dr...
Article
Many scientists argue that large-scale value changes are needed for a sustainability transformation. New research shows that such changes might be happening.
Article
Full-text available
ContextThe global trend of landscape simplification for industrial agriculture is known to cause losses in biodiversity and ecosystem service diversity. Despite these problems being widely known, status quo trajectories driven by global economic growth and changing diets continue to lead to further landscape simplification.Objectives In this perspe...
Article
Full-text available
and I. Dorresteijn. 2020. Reconciling food security and biodiversity conservation: participatory scenario planning in southwestern Ethiopia. Ecology and Society 25(3):24. ABSTRACT. Social-ecological systems are complex and involve uncertainties emerging from interactions between biophysical and social system components. In the face of growing compl...
Article
Climate change is reshaping the comparative advantage of regions and hence driving migration flows, principally toward urban areas. Migration has multiple benefits and costs in both origin and destination regions. Coordinated policies that recognize how and why people move can reduce future costs and facilitate adaptation to climate change both wit...
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations (UN) recently declared 2021 to 2030 the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Against this background, we review recent social-ecological systems research and summarize key themes that could help to improve ecosystem restoration in dynamic social contexts. The themes relate to resilience and adaptability, ecosystem stewardship and nav...
Article
Full-text available
Human–nature connectedness is hailed as a potential remedy for the current sustainability crisis, yet it is also deeply affected by it. Here, we perform a comprehensive assessment of human–nature connectedness that includes material, experiential, cognitive, emotional, and philosophical dimensions. We show that these dimensions of human–nature conn...
Article
Full-text available
The Kavango‐Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area supports large‐scale migrations of wildlife that occur in a mixed agri‐conservation landscape in five Southern African countries. Human–Wildlife Conflict is a key challenge and understanding the drivers of communities' willingness to coexist with wildlife is thus critical. Community based natural...
Data
This is the list of papers included in the systematic review by Lozano et al. (2019) published in Biological Conservation: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.07.002
Article
Full-text available
en Knowledge of vegetation dynamics associated with human land‐use change and environmental variables is crucial for sustainable watershed management. The objective of this study was to analyse woody plant diversity in response to the effects of anthropogenic disturbances, and topographic variables in different land‐cover types. Woody plants ≥5 cm...
Article
Full-text available
Transformational research frameworks provide understanding and guidance for fostering change towards sustainability. They comprise stages of system understanding, visioning and co-designing intervention strategies to foster change. Guidance and empirical examples for how to facilitate the process of co-designing intervention strategies in real-worl...
Article
Full-text available
Carnivore and humans live in proximity due to carnivore recovery efforts and ongoing human encroachment into carnivore habitats globally. The American West is a region that uniquely exemplifies these human-carnivore dynamics, however, it is unclear how the research community here integrates social and ecological factors to examine human-carnivore r...
Article
Global discourses on the governance of food security span competing approaches. For example, a neoliberal approach advocates commercialized, industrial agriculture, while food sovereignty and resilience are part of an alternative discourse to food security that prioritizes locally-based agroecological food production. Understanding how global disco...
Article
We investigated how smallholder farming households in southwestern Ethiopia coped with challenges related to lack in capital assets and food shortage. We focused on interactions between capital assets using, in particular, capital asset substitution as an analytical lens to classify and unpack the interactions. The most commonly mentioned challenge...
Article
We conducted a systematic review of 502 articles, published between 2000 and 2016, to characterize the research on human-carnivore relations according to (i) temporal and geographical distribution, (ii) biology, (iii) relations between carnivores and humans, (iv) social actors, (v) drivers of change, (vi) management, and (vii) applied methods. We p...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding emotions is necessary to analyse underlying motivations, values and drivers for behaviours. In landscapes that are rapidly changing, for example, due to land conversion for intensive agriculture, a sense of powerlessness of the inhabitants can be common, which may negatively influence their emotional bond to the landscape they are liv...
Article
Full-text available
Brazil, home to one of the planet’s last great forests, is currently in trade negotiations with its second largest trading partner, the European Union (EU). We urge the EU to seize this critical opportunity to ensure that Brazil protects human rights and the environment. Brazil’s forests, wetlands, and savannas are crucial to a great diversity of I...
Article
Full-text available
In the context of continuing ecosystem degradation and deepening socio-economic inequality, sustainability scientists must question the adequacy of current scholarship and practice. We argue that pre-occupation with external phenomena and collective social structures has led to the neglect of people’s ‘inner worlds’—their emotions, thoughts, identi...
Article
Full-text available
How transformative processes could be facilitated to improve gender equality and consequently, human well-being, is a key question for moving towards a just and sustainable future. Focusing on southwestern Ethiopia where significant changes in formal institutions related to gender have occurred, we applied the concept of systemic leverage points. W...
Article
Tropical forest ecosystems harbor high biodiversity, but they have suffered from ongoing human-induced degradation. We investigated the conservation value of moist evergreen Afromontane forest sites across gradients of site-level disturbance, landscape context and forest history in southwestern Ethiopia. We surveyed woody plants at 108 randomly sel...
Article
Full-text available
1. Drawing on seminal work by the late Donella Meadows, we propose a leverage points perspective as a hitherto under‐recognized heuristic and practical tool for sustainability science. A leverage points perspective focuses on places to intervene in complex systems to bring about transformative change. 2. A leverage points perspective recognizes in...
Article
Full-text available
Households combine capital assets in a process involving human agency and resourcefulness to construct livelihood strategies and generate well-being outcomes. Here, we (1) characterized types of livelihood strategies; (2) determined how different capital assets are associated with different livelihood strategies; and (3) determined how livelihood s...
Article
In this paper, we present an alternative governance system for managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Focusing primarily on the European Union (EU), we start with the premise that there is a need to rethink biodiversity governance to bring together land managers for collaboration and to close mismatches between levels of governance and e...
Article
Full-text available
Many people in less developed countries depend on woody plants, but sustainable management of woody plants often remains a challenge. We assessed people’s use, perceived property rights and management of woody plants in farmland and forests in a landscape of southwestern Ethiopia. We interviewed 180 households and surveyed woody plants in 192 plots...
Article
Full-text available
Traditional farming landscapes harbour high biodiversity worldwide, but are increasingly threatened by agricultural intensification. Here, we aimed to assess the impact of current and potential future land-use intensification on the avifauna in Transylvania, Romania, one of Europe's most notable traditional farming landscapes. We conducted repeated...
Article
Full-text available
Sustainability issues cannot be separated from their social and biophysical context, and collaborative governance responses to interdependent sustainability issues are inherently complex. Governance gaps emerge when responsible actors fail to recognize how multiple issues and actors are interlinked. Closing governance gaps is particularly challengi...
Article
Full-text available
Calls for humanity to ‘reconnect to nature’ have grown increasingly louder from both scholars and civil society. Yet, there is relatively little coherence about what reconnecting to nature means, why it should happen and how it can be achieved. We present a conceptual framework to organise existing literature and direct future research on human–nat...
Article
Full-text available
Transgenic Golden Rice has been hailed as a practical solution to vitamin A deficiency, but has also been heavily criticized. To facilitate a balanced view on this polarized debate, we investigated existing arguments for and against Golden Rice from a sustainability science perspective. In a structured literature review of peer-reviewed publication...
Article
Biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes continues to be a key challenge in the European Union (EU). However, to date the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is central for addressing this issue, has proven ineffective in improving biodiversity outcomes. In contrast to solutions that focus on individual policies or measures, we take...
Article
Full-text available
Europe's woodland and savanna rangelands, often part of silvopastoral systems known as wood-pastures, are deteriorating because of abandonment that leads to return to a forested state or lack of tree regeneration from overgrazing or tree and shrub removal. Despite numerous local studies, there has been no broader survey of the stand structure of Eu...
Article
Full-text available
The food-biodiversity nexus is a concept that defines and characterizes the complex interactions between agricultural systems and biodiversity conservation. Here we use a social-ecological systems approach that combines fuzzy cognitive mapping and graph theoretic analyses to uncover system properties that determine food security and biodiversity ou...
Article
Aim Past land use legacy effects—extinction debts and immigration credits—might be particularly pronounced in regions characterized by complex and dynamic landscape change. The aim of this study was to evaluate how current woody plant species distribution, composition and richness related to historical and present land uses. Location A smallholder...