PECS II - Place-Based Transdisciplinary Research For Global Sustainability

07.11 - 10.11.2017  
Oaxaca, Mexico

PECS II – "Place-Based Transdisciplinary Research For Global Sustainability” will be held in Oaxaca, Mexico, from 7-10 November 2017.


The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social–ecological systems, the services they generate, and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty.

PECS-II focuses on the contributions that ongoing place-based transdisciplinary research undertaken in different part of the planet to inform global sustainability.  The premise is that solutions towards sustainability change dramatically accross context. This meeting provides a unique oportunity for sharing insights gained within a wide range of contexts at local scales to identify pathways towards sustainability at a range of spatial scales and contexts.


The conference will invite sessions and talks under these four overarching themes. To provide a secondary level of structure, we will ask for sessions, and/or the talks that fall below them to be structured by keywords.

1. Context-specific pathways towards sustainability

Social-ecological systems are complex systems that possess critical thresholds, multiple drivers of change and reciprocal feedbacks between social and ecological components. This theme will focus on the challenges of fostering transformative change within this context, and will address questions including:

- How do transformation processes unfold in different types of contexts?
- What are the socioeconomic processes that underlie social feedbacks, the ecological dynamics that underlie ecological feedbacks and how these interact with one another to form social-ecological traps?
- How do you identify limits/thresholds in social-ecological systems and how do you modify them?
- What new research methods and approaches will be needed to improve understanding about social-ecological traps and transformations and how they differ from current modes of research?

2. Challenges and opportunities for informing global sustainability from place-based research

A great diversity of institutional arrangements, policies and practices have been proposed to achieve transformations towards sustainability. Success and failure appear to be context-specific; no particular policy or practice is likely to solve all problems, in all places and all times. Stewardship of social-ecological systems in the Anthropocene requires adaptive approaches to management and governance with decision-making under high degrees of uncertainty. This theme will address questions that include:

- What are the analytical approaches to assess successes and failures accross contexts?
- How do different governance settings and management practices shape the generation of ecosystem services and the overall social-ecological resilience of different landscapes and seascapes?
- How does power facilitate or constrain the transformation of social-ecological systems towards sustainable stewardship and what can be done about this?
- How can these insights be scaled up?
- How can global sustainability be informed by these insights?

3. Social-ecological dynamics of ecosystem services: Synergies, trade-offs and links to human wellbeing

Social-ecological systems are interdependent and linked systems of people and nature that are nested across scales. In essence this reflects that people are part of ecosystems and shape them, from local to global scales, from the past to the future and are at the same time fundamentally dependent on the capacity of these systems to provide services for human wellbeing and societal development. This theme will address questions that include:

- Are there typical patterns of trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services in various landscapes/seascapes or are these context-dependent?
- Who benefits from different ecosystem services related to various types of landscapes and seascapes? How does this relate to the ecosystem services themselves, their governance and other access mechanisms?
- What are the benefits people associate with ecosystems? How do these relate to wellbeing and to different categories of ecosystem services?
- How do ecosystem service approaches affect rights and access to ecosystem services? Whose voice and whose interests are heard?
- What are the trade-offs inherent in ecosystem service approaches – between different actors or stakeholders; between different ecosystem services; between different policy options?
- What analytical tools are needed to identify consistent tradeoffs accross contexts or scales?

4. Cross-scale connections and feedbacks that impact structure and dynamics of social-ecological systems

The expansion of the human dimension into the Anthropocene has resulted in an interconnected global society with new cross-scale interactions connecting people and places in new ways. These interactions are ultimately framed by the capacity of the global systems to sustain social-ecological progress and development. This theme will address questions that include:

- What are new frameworks and methods that capture distant social-ecological interactions and can help identify sustainability solutions across local to global scales?
- What is the distribution of costs, benefits and risks across space, time and among groups for different policy options?
- What variables, drivers and feedbacks underlie the multi-scaled control of different social-ecological systems?


Submit an abstract here:

Key dates

Opening date of the call for abstracts: 1 March 2017

Closing date of the call for abstracts: 15 April 2017

Notification of results go out: 30 May 2017

Further information

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