CR 73:7-15 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01437

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

Simo Sarkki1,*, Andrej Ficko2, Frans E. Wielgolaski3, Eleni M. Abraham4, Svetla Bratanova-Doncheva5, Karsten Grunewald6, Annika Hofgaard7, Friedrich-Karl Holtmeier8,9, Apostolos P. Kyriazopoulos10, Gabriele Broll11, Maria Nijnik12, Marja-Liisa Sutinen13,†

1Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, PO Box 1000, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland
2University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources, Vecna pot 83, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3Department of Bioscience, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
4Laboratory of Range Science (236), School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
5IBER-Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 2 ‘Major Gagarin’ Str., 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
6Leibniz-Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Weberplatz 1, 01217 Dresden, Germany
7Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, PO Box 5685, Sluppen, 7485 Trondheim, Norway
8Institute of Landscape Ecology, University of Muenster, 48149 Muenster, Germany
9Dionysiusstraße 6, 48329 Havixbeck, Germany
10Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, 193 Pantazidou Str., 68200 Orestiada, Greece
11University of Osnabrueck, Seminarstr. 19, 49074 Osnabrück, Germany
12Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group, The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
13Muhos Research Station, LUKE, Kirkkosaarentie 7, 91500 Muhos, Finland
*Corresponding author: DeceasedAdvance View was available online February 7, 2017

ABSTRACT: 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.


KEY WORDS: Human-environment interaction · Ecosystem services · DPSIR framework · Resilience · Social-ecological indicators · Scenarios


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Cite this article as: 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. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01437

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