Social-ecological scenarios for biodiversity and ecosystem service in temperate freshwater ecosystems

Maja Schlüter and Romina Martin coordinate LimnoScenES to develop stylized simulation models on human-freshwater interactions as inter- and transdisciplinary boundary objects. We work with partners from the University of Lund, the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Université du Québec à Montréal altogether for the ecological foundation and with the University of Osnabrück for the social science on water governance. We are excited to learn more about the case studies Ringsjön in Southern Sweden, Dümmer in Northern Germany and Lac St. Charles in Québec and what they have to offer on transformational learning in freshwater management. The kick-off will be in late February and we are looking forward to report further on our website.

Our group developed a social-ecological model (LimnoSES) motivated by the case of lake Ringsjön in Southern Sweden, which shifted to an eutrophic state in the 1980s. Currently a massive biomanipulation is under way to shift the lake back to a clear water state. We are particularly interested in the social dynamics and their interactions with ecological processes that lead to the regime shift in the past and that determine restoration activities and lake interactions and possible future of the lake today.

Improvements to the original LimnoSES model are currently under development with LimnoSES.jl, which endeavors to study governance strategies with interactions between multiple municipalities with disparate intervention policies.

People: Romina Martin and Maja Schlüter as coordinators, in collaboration with Claudia Pahl-Wostl, University of Osnabrück,  Beatrix Beisner, Université du Québec à Montréal, Rita Adrian, Ecosystems research at Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin and Lars-Anders Hansson, Aquatic ecology at Lund University. Tim DuBois is a researcher on the project, working alongside Krisztina Jonas: a research assistant.

Methods: Stylized simulation models, scenario analysis, group model building

Keywords: social-ecological scenarios, transformative learning

Funding: Grant received through BiodivERsA and Belmont Forum, Swedish partners funded through FORMAS.

Models: LimnoSES [ComSES, bitbucket], LimnoSES.jl [github]


  • Martin, Romina, Maja Schlüter, and Thorsten Blenckner. 2020. “The Importance of Transient Social Dynamics for Restoring Ecosystems beyond Ecological Tipping Points.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (5): 2717–22. [pdf]
  • Romina Martin, Sonja Radosavljevic and Maja Schlüter. 2020 “Short-term decisions in lake restoration have long-term consequences for water quality”. Regional Environmental Change 20:101, [pdf]