Not so different after all? Linking sustainability science and social-ecological systems research to foster transformation

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The sustainability challenges we face in the Anthropocene are diverse and complex. Different disciplines, all aiming at creating socially relevant sustainability outcomes, have developed distinct approaches to knowledge creation over time. Typically, these disciplines collaborate to generate solutions to sustainability problems. Horcea-Milcu et al. (2020) take a closer look at sustainability science and social-ecological systems research to find synergies and differences in these two research fields in order to gain insights to foster transformation.

Sustainability science and social-ecological systems research share a common purpose: they seek to foster sustainability transformations. But while sustainability science tends to focus on actionable contextualized knowledge concerned with interventions in systems, social-ecological systems research aims to understand the system dynamics in order to identify where to intervene in the system. These different approaches influence the way knowledge is created, shared, and used in practice.

By exploring the interlinkages between the two research fields, the authors…

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