Per Olsson

Per Olsson
Stockholm University | SU · Stockholm Resilience Centre

PhD

About

104
Publications
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22,717
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Publications

Publications (104)
Article
Full-text available
Food is essential to people and is one of the main ways in which people are connected to the world’s ecosystems. However, food systems often cause ecosystem degradation and produce ill-health, which has generated increasing calls to transform food systems to be more sustainable. The Swedish food system is currently undergoing substantial change. A...
Article
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This Special Feature is motivated by the rigorous, and growing, theoretical and empirical body of literature on social-ecological traps. Building on the foundational literature, which describes the context in many of the places where we work, we now look forward and ask how we can better understand and enable the breaking and escaping of social-eco...
Article
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Formalised knowledge systems, including universities and research institutes, are important for contemporary societies. They are, however, also arguably failing humanity when their impact is measured against the level of progress being made in stimulating the societal changes needed to address challenges like climate change. In this research we use...
Article
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Formalised knowledge systems, including universities and research institutes, are important for contemporary societies. They are, however, also arguably failing humanity when their impact is measured against the level of progress being made in stimulating the societal changes needed to address challenges like climate change. In this research we use...
Article
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Faced with accelerating environmental challenges, research on social-ecological systems is increasingly focused on the need for transformative change towards sustainable stewardship of natural resources. This paper analyses the potential of rapid, large-scale socio-political change as a window of opportunity for transformative change of natural res...
Article
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Scenario development helps people think about a broad variety of possible futures; however, the global environmental change community has thus far developed few positive scenarios for the future of the planet and humanity. Those that have been developed tend to focus on the role of a few common, large-scale external drivers, such as technology or e...
Article
The imperatives of environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation and social justice (partially codified in the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) call for ambitious societal transformations. As such, few aspects of actionable knowledge for sustainability are more crucial than those concerning the processes of transformation. This article of...
Article
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Creating a just and sustainable planet will require not only small changes, but also systemic transformations in how humans relate to the planet and to each other, i.e., social–ecological transformations. We suggest there is a need for collaborative environments where experimentation with new configurations of social–ecological systems can occur, a...
Article
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Transformations toward sustainability have recently gained traction, triggered in part by a growing recognition of the dramatic socio-cultural, political, economic, and technological changes required to move societies toward more desirable futures in the Anthropocene. However, there is a dearth of literature that emphasizes the crucial aspects of s...
Article
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The most critical question for climate research is no longer about the problem, but about how to facilitate the transformative changes necessary to avoid catastrophic climate-induced change. Addressing this question, however, will require massive upscaling of research that can rapidly enhance learning about transformations. Ten essentials for guidi...
Article
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The distinction between adaptive and transformative capacities is still not well understood, and in this study we aimed to build a transformative learning space to strengthen transformative capacities. We proposed that two capacities will be essential to transformation: the capacity to navigate emergence and cross-scale systems reflexivity. We outl...
Chapter
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Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Chapter
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Global urbanization promises better services, stronger economies, and more connections; it also carries risks and unforeseeable consequences. To deepen our understanding of this complex process and its importance for global sustainability, we need to build interdisciplinary knowledge around a systems approach. Urban Planet takes an integrative look...
Data
This includes an comprehensive review of publications on real-world labs and an overview on which publication is mentioning which RwL characteristic. In addition, key readings on Sustainability Living Labs, Urban Transition Labs and Transformation Labs are provided.
Article
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Real-world laboratories (RwLs, German Reallabore) belong to a family of increasingly popular experimental and transdisciplinary research approaches at the science-society interface. As these approaches in general, and RwLs in particular, often lack clear definitions of key characteristics and their operationalization, we make two contributions in t...
Article
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Identifying trajectories of agricultural development that enable substantial increases in food production is of prime importance for food security and human development in Sub-Saharan Africa in general, and Ethiopia in particular. To ensure long-term welfare for people and landscapes, it is imperative that such agricultural transformations sustain...
Article
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After tracing the antecedents of the concept and considering its intersection in social innovation research, we put forward the argument that the Anthropocene concept points to three areas of thought that are strategically imperative and must be accelerated if social innovation theory and practice is to prove transformative and respond to the chall...
Article
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Transformations to create more sustainable social-ecological systems are urgently needed. Structural change is a feature of transformations of social-ecological systems that is of critical importance but is little understood. Here, we propose a framework for conceptualising and modelling sustainability transformations based on adaptive networks. Ad...
Article
Global risks are now increasingly being perceived as networked, and likely to result in large-scale, propagating failures and crises that transgress national boundaries and societal sectors. These so called “globally networked risks” pose fundamental challenges to global governance institutions. A growing literature explores the nature of these glo...
Article
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The scale, rate, and intensity of humans' environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overl...
Article
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Scholars and policy makers are becoming increasingly interested in the processes that lead to transformations toward sustainability. We explored how resilience thinking, and a stronger focus on social-ecological systems, can contribute to existing studies of sustainability transformations. First, we responded to two major points of critique: the cl...
Article
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To gain insights into the effects of adaptive governance on natural capital, we compare three well-studied initiatives; a landscape in Southern Sweden, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and fisheries in the Southern Ocean. We assess changes in natural capital and ecosystem services related to these social-ecological governance approaches to ecos...
Article
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Governance of marine resources is increasingly characterized by integrated, cross sectoral and ecosystem based approaches. Such approaches require that existing governing bodies have an ability to adapt to ecosystem dynamics, while also providing transparent and legitimate outcomes. Here, we investigate how the Baltic Marine Environment Protection...
Article
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Small-scale fisheries present challenges to management due to fishers' dependency on resources and the adaptability of management systems. We compared social-ecological processes in the sea cucumber fisheries of Zanzibar and Mayotte, Western Indian Ocean, to better understand the reasons for resource conservation or collapse. Commercial value of wi...
Article
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Faced with numerous seemingly intractable social and environmental challenges, many scholars and practitioners are increasingly interested in understanding how to actively engage and transform the existing systems holding such problems in place. Although a variety of analytical models have emerged in recent years, most emphasize either the social o...
Conference Paper
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European societies are faced with amalgamated crises: ecological degradation and loss of ecosystem functions, trembling welfare systems that retreat from providing services needed to fulfill basic societal needs and maintain social security, and the resurfacing of dichotomies in societies as effects of gentrification and fear of loss and change. In...
Article
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In many coastal nations, community-based arrangements for marine resource management (CBRM) are promoted by government, advocated for by non-government actors, and are seen by both as one of the most promising options to achieve sustainable use and secure inshore fisheries and aquatic resources. Although there is an abundant literature on what make...
Article
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The need for improved stewardship of coastal and marine resources is evident worldwide. However, complex ecosystem dynamics, institutional inertia, and budgetary constraints impede such action. This study explores how networks of change-oriented individuals or ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ can introduce new types of human-environment interaction. T...
Article
a b s t r a c t The roles of governance and technological innovation have been widely recognized as important parts of sustainability transitions. However, less attention has been paid to understanding the mechanisms of the emergence and spread of innovative ideas for stewardship of social–ecological systems. This study considers how theories of in...
Article
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ABSTRACT. We reviewed the literature on leadership in linked social-ecological systems and combined it with the literature on institutional entrepreneurship in complex adaptive systems to develop a new theory of transformative agency in linked social- ecological systems. Although there is evidence of the importance of strategic agency in introducin...
Article
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Cities are rapidly increasing in importance as a major factor shaping the Earth system, and therefore, must take corresponding responsibility. With currently over half the world's population, cities are supported by resources originating from primarily rural regions often located around the world far distant from the urban loci of use. The sustaina...
Article
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Planetary boundaries and their interactions pose severe challenges for global environmental governance due to their inherent uncertainties and complex multi-scale dynamics. Here we explore the global governance challenge posed by planetary boundaries interactions by focusing on the role of polycentric systems and order, a theoretical field that has...
Article
The notion of ‘planetary boundaries’ is rapidly diffusing into a range of policy arenas and has clearly stimulated a discussion on the need to reform international environmental governance. This article summarizes the special section “Global Environmental Governance and Planetary Boundaries”. The articles in this section highlight several dimension...
Article
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This paper outlines the results of a systematic review of the literature on adaptive comanagement (ACM). Adaptive comanagement is an emergent governance approach for complex social–ecological systems that links the learning function of adaptive management (experimental and experiential) and the linking (vertically and horizontally) function of coma...
Article
Growing a resilient landscape depends heavily on finding an appropriate match between the scales of demands on ecosystems by human societies and the scales at which ecosystems are capable of meeting these demands. While the dynamics of environmental change and ecosystem service provision form the basis of many landscape ecology studies, enhancing l...
Article
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The urgency of charting pathways to sustainability that keep human societies within a "safe operating space" has now been clarified. Crises in climate, food, biodiversity, and energy are already playing out across local and global scales and are set to increase as we approach critical thresholds. Drawing together recent work from the Stockholm Resi...
Article
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Scuba diving fishing, predominantly targeting sea cucumbers, has been documented to occur in an uncontrolled manner in the Western Indian Ocean and in other tropical regions. Although this type of fishing generally indicates a destructive activity, little attention has been directed towards this category of fishery, a major knowledge gap and barrie...
Data
Interview guide for scuba divers study. Guide used in focus group interviews and in-depth interviews with respondents in Zanzibar. (DOC)
Conference Paper
The Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) involves six countries working towards sustainable ocean use. Linking and coordinating between governance levels and integration across its five project goals is crucial to shift onto a sustainable trajectory. We use insights from theory on transformation of social-ecological systems to provide recommendations on...
Article
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A range of studies from Earth system scientists argue that human activities drive multiple, interacting effects that cascade through the Earth system. Recent contributions state and quantify nine, interacting 'planetary boundaries' with possible threshold effects. This article provides an overview of the global governance challenges that follow fro...
Article
Full-text available
The urgency of charting pathways to sustainability that keep human societies within a "safe operating space" has now been clarified. Crises in climate, food, biodiversity, and energy are already playing out across local and global scales and are set to increase as we approach critical thresholds. Drawing together recent work from the Stockholm Resi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Humanity has entered the anthroposcene era; human activity has become a major driving force in the history of the planet. It is critical to find ways to increase our ability to understand and guide human-environment interactions. Our point of departure in this chapter is the contention that human and biophysical systems are closely inter-connected....
Article
Organizations involved in the governance of natural resources are challenged to adjust to the call for more holistic management approaches. This often necessitates organizational change. Here change processes in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) during the years 1998–2009 are investigated using semi-structured intervie...
Article
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This article explores the links between agency, institutions, and innovation in navigating shifts and large-scale transformations toward global sustainability. Our central question is whether social and technical innovations can reverse the trends that are challenging critical thresholds and creating tipping points in the earth system, and if not,...
Article
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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 es...
Article
Unsustainable fishing simplifies food chains and, as with aquaculture, can result in reliance on a few economically valuable species. This lack of diversity may increase risks of ecological and economic disruptions. Centuries of intense fishing have extirpated most apex predators in the Gulf of Maine (United States and Canada), effectively creating...
Article
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"Large, regional-scale marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks face different challenges in governance systems than locally managed or community-based MPAs. An emerging theme in large-scale MPA management is the prevalence of governance structures that rely on institutional collaboration, presenting new challenges as agencies with differing...
Article
Effectively reducing cumulative impacts on marine ecosystems requires co-evolution between science, policy and practice. Here, long-term social-ecological changes in the Baltic Sea are described, illustrating how the process of making the ecosystem approach operational in a large marine ecosystem can be stimulated. The existing multi-level governan...
Article
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Marine ecosystems are in decline. New transformational changes in governance are urgently required to cope with overfishing, pollution, global changes, and other drivers of degradation. Here we explore social, political, and ecological aspects of a transformation in governance of Chile's coastal marine resources, from 1980 to today. Critical elemen...
Chapter
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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...
Article
Despite recent advances, ecosystem service monitoring is limited by insufficient data, the complexity of social—ecological systems, and poor integration of information that tracks changes in ecosystems and economic activities. However, new information and communication technologies are revolutionizing the generation of, and access to, such data. Ca...
Article
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Ecosystem stewardship is an action-oriented framework intended to foster the social-ecological sustainability of a rapidly changing planet. Recent developments identify three strategies that make optimal use of current understanding in an environment of inevitable uncertainty and abrupt change: reducing the magnitude of, and exposure and sensitivit...
Article
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Conventional perceptions of the interactions between people and their environment are rapidly transforming. Old paradigms that view humans as separate from nature, natural resources as inexhaustible or endlessly substitutable, and the world as stable, predictable, and in balance are no longer tenable. New conceptual frameworks are rapidly emerging...