Launch of synthesis project on human decisions and ecosystem services

The project “Human Decisions and Ecosystem Services” has been kicked off with a workshop at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Centre (SESYNC) in Annapolis, USA. The project brings together modelers with backgrounds in ecology, social psychology, economics, common-pool resources, artificial intelligence and anthropology; among them several members of the SES-LINK team. The aim is to develop a synthesis of the role of micro-scale human decision making and behavior for the provision of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are co-produced by humans and nature as both biophysical processes and human valuation and action shape their production. It is thus important to better understand what drives human behavior in natural resource use in different social-ecological contexts. This has implications for modeling social-ecological systems and policy making. The project will first review human decision making models used in SES research and link it to available theories in the social sciences. Second we will select a set of different decision models and compare their impact on SES outcomes across a set of stylized models of irrigation, pastoralism and fisheries. Through this systematic analysis we hope to gain better understanding about which factors are relevant in determining SES outcomes in natural resource management, and contribute to the development of a typology of social-ecological interactions.