Belinda Reyers's research while affiliated with University of Pretoria and other places

Publications (187)

Article
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Social-ecological systems (SES) research has emerged as an important area of sustainability science, informing and supporting pressing issues of transformation towards more sustainable, just and equitable futures. To date, much SES research has been done in or from the Global North, where the challenges and contexts for supporting sustainability tr...
Article
We review the past decade’s widespread application of resilience science in sustainable development practice and examine whether and how resilience is reshaping this practice to better engage in complex contexts. We analyse six shifts in practice: from capitals to capacities, from objects to relations, from outcomes to processes, from closed to ope...
Article
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The complex nature of sustainability problems and the aim of sustainability science to support emergent processes of transformation require rethinking how we build and make use of theories. We highlight the diversity of ways in which theories, as assemblages of different elements that can serve a variety of purposes, can emerge within inter-discipl...
Article
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Securing well-being and building resilience in response to shocks are often viewed as key goals of sustainable development. Here, we present an overview of the latest published evidence, as well as the consensus of a diverse group of scientists and practitioners drawn from a structured analytical review and deliberative workshop process. We argue t...
Article
A core aim of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2021 is to set out the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to halt biodiversity loss and its impacts on ecosystems, species, and human systems. With an estimated one million species threatened with extinction, the sta...
Chapter
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In this chapter, we review evidence available for assessing progress towards meeting major international objectives related to nature and NCP. We focus specifically on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and relevant SDGs, as well as relevant objectives of other agreements. This includes an assessment of both regional and distributional patterns as well...
Article
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The interdependence of social and ecological processes is broadly acknowledged in the pursuit to enhance human wellbeing and prosperity for all. Yet, development interventions continue to prioritise economic development and short-term goals with little consideration of social-ecological interdependencies, ultimately undermining resilience and there...
Article
We are approaching a reckoning point in 2020 for global targets that better articulate the interconnections between biodiversity, ecosystem services and sustainable development. The Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD’s) post-2020 global biodiversity framework and targets will be developed as we enter the last decade to meet the Sustainable D...
Article
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Many ecosystem services (ES) models exist to support sustainable development decisions. However, most ES studies use only a single modelling framework and, because of a lack of validation data, rarely assess model accuracy for the study area. In line with other research themes which have high model uncertainty, such as climate change, ensembles of...
Article
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It is no longer possible nor desirable to address the dual challenges of equity and sustainability separately. Instead, they require new thinking and approaches which recognize their interlinkages, as well as the multiple perspectives and dimensions involved. We illustrate how equity and sustainability are intertwined, and how a complex social–ecol...
Article
Research practice, funding agencies and global science organizations suggest that research aimed at addressing sustainability challenges is most effective when ‘co-produced’ by academics and non-academics. Co-production promises to address the complex nature of contemporary sustainability challenges better than more traditional scientific approache...
Article
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The time is now For decades, scientists have been raising calls for societal changes that will reduce our impacts on nature. Though much conservation has occurred, our natural environment continues to decline under the weight of our consumption. Humanity depends directly on the output of nature; thus, this decline will affect us, just as it does th...
Article
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Faced with environmental degradation, governments worldwide are developing policies to safeguard ecosystem services (ES). Many ES models exist to support these policies, but they are generally poorly validated, especially at large scales, which undermines their credibility. To address this gap, we describe a study of multiple models of five ES, whi...
Chapter
In recognition of the importance of nature, its contributions to people and role in underpinning sustainable development, governments adopted a Strategic Plan on Biodiversity 2011-2020 through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) containing 20 ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ and integrated many of these into the Sustainable Development Goals (...
Technical Report
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This report represents a critical assessment, the first in almost 15 years (since the release of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005) and the first ever carried out by an intergovernmental body, of the status and trends of the natural world, the social implications of these trends, their direct and indirect causes, and, importantly, the act...
Article
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The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 marks significant progress towards sustainable development by making explicit the intention to integrate previously separate social, economic and environmental agendas. Despite this intention, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted to implement the agenda, are fragmented in their formulation and...
Chapter
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Scenario planning is a key approach for exploring the longer term consequences of nature-society interactions, and are used to inform policy making about the potential risks, opportunities and tradeoffs of different possible future pathways of change. Scenarios do not aim to forecast or predict the future, but rather to highlight how different pote...
Article
Social-ecological systems (SES) research offers new theory and evidence to transform sustainable development to better contend with the challenges of the Anthropocene. Four insights from contemporary SES literature on (a) intertwined SES, (b) cross-scale dynamics, (c) systemic tipping points, and (d) transformational change are explored. Based on t...
Article
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Non-technical summary It is no longer possible nor desirable to address the dual challenges of equity and sustainability separately. Instead, they require new thinking and approaches which recognize their interlinkages, as well as the multiple perspectives and dimensions involved. We illustrate how equity and sustainability are intertwined, and how...
Article
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On 25 September, 2015, world leaders met at the United Nations in New York, where they adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals and 169 targets set out an agenda for sustainable development for all nations that embraces economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. Now, the agenda moves from agreeing the goals to...
Chapter
Humankind has never been so populous, technically equipped, and economically and culturally integrated as it is today. In the twenty-first century, societies are confronted with a multitude of challenges in their efforts to manage the Earth system.
Article
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The imperative to measure progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has resulted in a proliferation of targets and indicators fed by an ever-expanding set of observations. This proliferation undermines one principal purpose of the SDGs: to provide a framework for coordinated action across policy domains. Systems approaches to defining E...
Article
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Delivering access to sufficient food, energy and water resources to ensure human wellbeing is a major concern for governments worldwide. However, it is crucial to account for the ‘nexus’ of interactions between these natural resources and the consequent implications for human wellbeing. The private sector has a critical role in driving positive cha...
Chapter
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Ecosystem services are increasingly incorporated into explicit policy targets and can be an effective tool for informing decisions about the use and management of the planet's resources, especially when trade-offs and synergies need to be taken into account. The challenge is to find meaningful and robust indicators to quantify ecosystem services, m...
Article
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© 2016 The Author(s)Delivering access to sufficient food, energy and water resources to ensure human wellbeing is a major concern for governments worldwide. However, it is crucial to account for the ‘nexus’ of interactions between these natural resources and the consequent implications for human wellbeing. The private sector has a critical role in...
Data
Correlations between all ecosystem service (ES) use and human well-being (HWB) indicators. Numbers in the boxes represent Spearman’s ρ (rS); only coloured boxes represent significant (p < 0.05) correlations between indicators (blue = significantly positive correlations, red = significantly negative correlations). (PDF)
Data
Multidimensional scaling ordination diagram for all South African municipalities (n = 234), based on five human well-being measures. Colours indicate the three different human well-being bundle types identified in the cluster analysis. (PDF)
Article
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We take a social-ecological systems perspective to investigate the linkages between ecosystem services and human well-being in South Africa. A recent paper identified different types of social-ecological systems in the country, based on distinct bundles of ecosystem service use. These system types were found to represent increasingly weak direct fe...
Data
Human well-being bundles when k-means clustering was restricted to two clusters. (PDF)
Data
Human well-being clusters resulting from a hierarchical cluster analysis. (PDF)
Article
Humanity has emerged as a major force in the operation of the biosphere. The focus is shifting from the environment as externality to the biosphere as precondition for social justice, economic development, and sustainability. In this article, we exemplify the intertwined nature of social-ecological systems and emphasize that they operate within, an...
Article
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To achieve sustainability goals, it is important to incorporate ecosystem service (ES) information into decision-making processes. However, little is known about the correspondence between the needs of ES information users and the data provided by the researcher community. We surveyed stakeholders within sub-Saharan Africa, determining their ES dat...
Article
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Although satellite-based variables have for long been expected to be key components to a unified and global biodiversity monitoring strategy, a definitive and agreed list of these variables still remains elusive. The growth of interest in biodiversity variables observable from space has been partly underpinned by the development of the essential bi...
Article
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The concepts of knowledge co-production and boundary work offer planners a new frame for critically designing a social process that fosters collaborative implementation of resulting plans. Knowledge co-production involves stakeholders from diverse knowledge systems working iteratively towards common vision and action. Boundary work is a means of cr...
Article
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Global acknowledgement of ecological restoration, as an important tool to complement conservation efforts, requires an effort to increase the effectiveness of restoration interventions. Evidence-based practice is purported to promote effectiveness. A central tenet of this approach is decision making that is based on evidence, not intuition. Evidenc...
Article
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A B S T R A C T We present an approach to identify and map social–ecological systems based on the direct use of ecosystem services by households. This approach builds on the premise that characteristic bundles of ecosystem service use represent integrated expressions of different underlying social–ecological systems. We test the approach in South...
Article
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Progress in ecosystem service science has been rapid, and there is now a healthy appetite among key public and private sector decision makers for this science. However, changing policy and management is a long-term project, one that raises a number of specific practical challenges. One impediment to broad adoption of ecosystem service information i...
Article
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The central challenge of the 21st century is to develop economic, social, and governance systems capable of ending poverty and achieving sustainable levels of population and consumption while securing the life-support systems underpinning current and future human well-being. Essential to meeting this challenge is the incorporation of natural capita...
Article
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Achieving the policy and practice shifts needed to secure ecosystem services is hampered by the inherent complexities of ecosystem services and their management. Methods for the participatory production and exchange of knowledge offer an avenue to navigate this complexity together with the beneficiaries and managers of ecosystem services. We develo...
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This is the accepted manuscript of a paper that will be published in PNAS. It is currently under an infinite embargo.
Article
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The central challenge of the 21st century is to develop economic, social, and governance systems capable of ending poverty and achieving sustainable levels of population and consumption while securing the life-support systems underpinning current and future human well-being. Essential to meeting this challenge is the incorporation of natural capita...
Article
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The first public product of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is its Conceptual Framework. This conceptual and analytical tool, presented here in detail, will underpin all IPBES functions and provide structure and comparability to the syntheses that IPBES will produce at different spatial scales, on diffe...
Article
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Ecosystem services research needs to become more transdisciplinary.•ecoSERVICES will advance co-designed, transdisciplinary ecosystem service research. Ecosystem services have become a mainstream concept for the expression of values assigned by people to various functions of ecosystems. Even though the introduction of the concept has initiated a va...
Article
35 Ecosystem services have become a mainstream concept for the expression of values assigned by people to various functions of ecosystems. Even though the introduction of the concept has initiated a vast amount of research, progress in using this knowledge for sustainable resource use remains insufficient. We see a need to broaden the scope of rese...
Article
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The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth system. Here, we revise and update the planetary boundary framework, with a focus on the underpinning biophysical science, based on targeted input from expert research communities and o...
Article
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An age-old conflict around a seemingly simple question has resurfaced: why do we conserve nature? Contention around this issue has come and gone many times, but in the past several years we believe that it has reappeared as an increasingly acrimonious debate between, in essence, those who argue that nature should be protected for its own sake (intr...
Technical Report
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These guidelines have been produced to support the development of ecosystem service indicators at the national and regional level for uses in reporting, assessments, policy making, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem management, environmental management, development planning and education. The guidance contains four key sections: 1. Introduction...
Article
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The idea that there is an identifiable set of boundaries, beyond which anthropogenic change will put the Earth system outside a safe operating space for humanity, is attracting interest in the scientific community and gaining support in the environmental policy world. Rockstrom et al. (2009) identify nine such boundaries and highlight biodiversity...
Article
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The gap between science and practice has been highlighted in a number of scientific disciplines, including the newly developing domain of ecosystem service science, posing a challenge for the sustainable management of ecosystem services for human wellbeing. While methods to explore science-practice gaps are developing, testing and revisions of thes...
Article
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Communities worldwide are increasingly affected by natural hazards such as floods, droughts, wildfires and storm-waves. However, the causes of these increases remain underexplored, often attributed to climate changes or changes in the patterns of human exposure. This paper aims to quantify the effect of climate change, as well as land cover change,...
Chapter
Protected areas have long been the mainstay of humanity's attempts to conserve areas deemed to be of natural, cultural, or ecological importance. However, it is unlikely that protected areas alone will stem the tide of biodiversity loss. In the past few decades approaches to conservation have increased in number, scope, and complexity. This article...