The SES-LINK group at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University studies the co-evolutionary dynamics of social-ecological systems (SES). We understand SES as complex adaptive systems of humans embedded in ecosystems whose dynamics arise from multiple social-ecological relations and interactions at and across scales. We are particularly interested in identifying key interactions and causal mechanisms that may explain large scale change (regime shifts, transformations) or lack thereof (traps) within particular social-ecological contexts. Our aim is to develop middle-range theories of SES change that take the context-dependence of SES phenomena into account and shed light on their resilience and governance.

We are an interdisciplinary Team of researchers with backgrounds ranging from ecology, political science, artificial intelligence, system science, computer science, philosophy, physics, mathematics, etc. Read more about our Research, Methods and Models in the different sections.

Research News

A framework for analysing emergent social-ecological phenomena

We have recently published our social-ecological action situations (SE-AS) framework which was built and tested with the case studies we have worked on over the last several years. The framework extends Ostrom’s concept of an action situation to include social-ecological and ecological action situations in order to accoutn for the intertwined nature of social-ecological systems. The purpose of the framework is to support the development of possible explanations of social-ecological phenomena such as regime shifts or traps that can then be tested in field work or through modelling. An explanation is expressed as a configuration of social, social-ecological and ecological action situations that are linked through their emergent outcomes. More information can be found here.

Know your ologies – Toolkit for cross-disciplinary research

Researchers of sustainability science are often faced with the need to consider a multitude of different knowledge types and forms. This can be challenging, given that many of these are generated in very different ways. This, in turn, can be traced back to radically different understandings of reality and ways to study this reality. What, in turn, does that mean for the practice of cross-disciplinary (multi- inter- trans-) cooperation/integration which is so central for sustainability research?

Please find here a toolkit that provides guidance to researchers for “mapping” their research across some of the categories of philosophy of science, either in the framework of an individual exercise or in the framework of a workshop for participants of research projects. Made by María Mancilla García and Tilman Hertz in collaboration with the SES-LINK team and PhD students at SRC.

Social-ecological systems are complex adaptive systems

View our short animation of social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems. Made by the SES-LINK group in collaboration with Azote.


Our research is funded by European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 682472 — MUSES), the Swedish Research Council (VR) for an Interdisciplinary Research Environment (CauSES), Biodiversa/Belmont for the project LimnoScenES, VR/Formas/Sida for the projects OctoPINTS and FoREL, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC).