This research programme focuses on the concept of spatial resilience. This body of theory recognizes that spatial variation (e.g., context, gradients, connectivity, network membership, and spatial feedbacks) changes how complex systems adapt, maintain or return to a desired state, and ultimately persist. My students and I combine tools from complexity theory and other disciplines to explore the spatial resilience of social-ecological systems (SESs).
This research programme falls under a broad global environmental change and ecosystem services ACCESS-funded project. The project will set out to articulate the diversity of values, benefits and trade-offs derived from water-related ecosystem services in Table Mountain National Park by residents living in the City of Cape Town. The research aims to answer the following questions: 1) What are the cultural ecosystem service values and benefits derived from a national park by communities residing in a metropolitan setting?
This research programme is a collaboration between the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa, and VU Amsterdam in The Netherlands. It currently consists of two complementary PhD projects that aim to explore social-ecological dynamics in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, integrating concepts such as ecosystem services, human well-being, sense of place, transformations and poverty alleviation.
Several semi-interlinked projects are running in this region with ecosystem services as a common ground. Here are short descriptions about each project with links to the available project sites or contact persons. 1. Assessing the impacts of land degradation on soil functioning and associated ecosystem services and finding ways to rehabilitate the land (for crop and grazing), to foster carbon sequestration for mitigating effects of and adapting to climate change.
This is the prototype for an integrated monitoring system at regional scale, which combines observations of human well-being, ecosystem services and agriculture. Its long gestation, like PECS, traces back to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, where we wished we had high-resolution, co-located datasets for specific places in order to address issues of tradeoffs between various development activities, biodiversity and HWB.
Project for Ecosystem Services (ProEcoServ): Strengthening the science-policy interface of biodiversity and ecosystem services
ProEcoServ aims to enhance the integration of ecological infrastructure and ecosystem services into national development planning and policy with the involvement of national and local stakeholders. It is a global project with an umbrella approach, under which four pilot countries with existing skills and programs in ecosystem assessment are developing site and policy-specific activities and tools for decision making within a joint programmatic framework.
Determining the economic risk/return parameters for developing a market for ecosystem goods and services following the restoration of natural capital: a system dynamics approach (2008 – 2012)
Ecological restoration, the process of assisting the recovery of ecosystems that have been “degraded, damaged, or destroyed” (SER, 2004), is now internationally recognised as a key priority, alongside conservation initiatives*, in the quest for sustainable social-ecological systems. The science and practice of restoration has progressed at a significant pace over the past few decades, but substantial challenges remain particularly with respect to scaling-up and financing of large scale initiatives.