Webinar invitation 🌍 Ecosystems and Society: a Complex Systems Perspective on their intertwined futures

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The African Climate and Development Initiative invites you to participate in a webinar on Ecosystems and Society: a Complex Systems Perspective on their intertwined futures. We are fortunate to have guest speaker, Professor Belinda Reyers present this talk. Professor Reyers holds the Research Chair in Sustainability Science at Future Africa, at the University of Pretoria, and is a Senior Advisor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, based at Stockholm University. The webinar will take place on Zoom from 14:00 – 15:30 (SAST) on the 15 April 2021.

Societies, and the ecosystems in which they live, have a long history of shaping and being shaped by one another. These co-developing relationships have resulted in large gains for human wellbeing at a global scale. However, the resultant human imprint on ecosystems now shapes the world at global scales leading to cross-scale interactions connecting people and ecosystems in new ways, in turn resulting in novel and dynamic local, regional, and worldwide interactions, triggering feedback loops, abrupt change and increased exposure to new types of risk. The speed, connectivity, and scale of these new interactions between ecosystems and society places development efforts in a new context requiring new methods, theories and research agendas with which to understand and navigate these changes. In this presentation, Prof Reyers will explore the field of complex social-ecological systems and their dynamics and what insights it offers to address emerging ecological and social challenges of the Anthropocene. Drawing on insights related to social-ecological feedbacks, cross-scale dynamics, resilience and non-linearities Prof Reyers presents a set of relevant theories and evidence, as well as implications for research and practice in southern Africa. Many of these insights relate to the capacities of ecosystems and societies to navigate and evolve through change, and the factors that shape these capacities now and in the future.

Haider, L. J., Schlüter, M., Folke, C., & Reyers, B. (2021). Rethinking resilience and development: A coevolutionary perspective. Ambio, 1-9.

Reyers, B., & Selig, E. R. (2020). Global targets that reveal the social–ecological interdependencies of sustainable development. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 4(8), 1011-1019.

Díaz, Sandra, et al. Pervasive human-driven decline of life on Earth points to the need for transformative change. Science 366.6471 (2019).

Reyers, B., Folke, C., Moore, M.L., Biggs, R. and Galaz, V., 2018. Social-Ecological Systems Insights for Navigating the Dynamics of the Anthropocene. Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 43:11.1–11.23

Leach, M. Reyers, B., Bai, X., Brondizio, E., Cook, C., Diaz, S., Espindola, G., Scobie, M., Stafford-Smith M., Subramanian, S.M. 2018. Equity and sustainability in the Anthropocene: A social-ecological systems perspective on their intertwined futures. Global Sustainability. 1, e13, 1–13.

Reyers, B. and Selomane, O., 2018. Social-ecological systems approaches: Revealing and navigating the complex trade-offs of sustainable development. In Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation. Eds. K. Schreckenberg, G. Mace, M. Poudyal (pp. 39-54). Routledge. London, UK. Open Access

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