University of Oulu

Sarkki S, Ficko A, Wielgolaski FE, Abraham EM and others (2017) Assessing the resilient provision of ecosystem services by social-ecological systems: introduction and theory. Clim Res 73:7-15.

Assessing the resilient provision of ecosystem services by social-ecological systems : introduction and theory

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Author: Sarkki, Simo1; Ficko, Andrej2; Wielgolaski, Frans E.3;
Organizations: 1Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu
2University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources
3Department of Bioscience, University of Oslo
4Laboratory of Range Science (236), School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
5IBER-Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
6Leibniz-Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development
7Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
8Institute of Landscape Ecology, University of Muenster
9Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace
10University of Osnabrueck
11Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group, The James Hutton Institute
12Muhos Research Station, LUKE
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Inter-Research Science Center, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-10-06


The concepts of resilience and ecosystem services broaden the opportunities for assessing sustainability of social-ecological systems (SESs). The lack of operational frameworks for assessing the resilient provision of ecosystem services by SESs impedes greater integration of resilience thinking in natural resource governance. The greatest challenge so far has been to understand the capacity of the SES to (re)organize itself and sustain the flow of benefits from nature to people under various global and local pressures and trade-offs between ecosystem services users. To assess the resilience of an SES within a single framework, we propose a new approach which is a combination of: (1) the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework; (2) social-ecological indicators; and (3) scenario building. Practical application of the approach is demonstrated with the example of European polar and altitudinal treeline areas. The DPSIR framework analyzes causal relationships between the components of the SES. Social-ecological indicators quantify processes in the SES and estimate trends in the DPSIR factors. Combined top-down and bottom-up scenarios envision plausible development paths of the SES in the future based on expected global environmental and social changes which create context specific dynamics between DPSIR factors at specific localities. The proposed approach represents the analytical framework of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) action SENSFOR (Enhancing the resilience capacity of SENSitive mountain FORest ecosystems under environmental change) and can be applied to promote systemic resilience thinking in any SES.

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Series: Climate research. Interactions of climate with organisms, ecosystems and human societies
ISSN: 0936-577X
ISSN-E: 1616-1572
ISSN-L: 0936-577X
Volume: 73
Issue: 1-2
Pages: 7 - 15
DOI: 10.3354/cr01437
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
5141 Sociology
Funding: This study was supported by the SENSFOR (ESSEM COST Action ES1203 − Enhancing the resilience capacity of SENSitive mountain FORest ecosystems under environmental change) project.
Copyright information: © The authors 2017. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.