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POLISES at the Resilience Conference 2017

by Gunnar Dreßler

Once every three years, scientists, practitioners – and even artists – from all over the world gather together for the Resilience Conference to discuss research on social-ecological systems under transformation. From August 21-23, 2017, Stockholm served as an exceptionally pleasant host city for this year’s conference, which Birgit, Gunnar and our cooperation partner Lance Robinson attended. Although the programme was condensed to just three days, it provided a lot of new inputs, ideas and points for discussion and allowed us to reconnect with many dear colleagues.

For the very first day of the conference, Birgit had organised a session on "Bringing human adaptive behavior into SES analysis from local to global scales", together with Maja Schlüter and Nanda Wijermans from the Stockholm Resilience Centre. In this session, Lance and Gunnar gave a presentation on their joint work on land use competition in Southern Ethiopia, emphasizing the role of the LUCID simulation model for land use planning, and how the heterogeneity of knowledge and interests of different actors could be better incorporated in the model. Gunnar also gave a talk on the implications of behavioural change on the sustainability of pastoral systems – results that he obtained with the RAGE model. Besides giving a talk on "Maladaptive outcomes of agricultural insurance programs", Birgit also served as a discussant in the session "Towards a mechanism-based understanding of the dynamics of SES", organised by Emilie Lindkvist, Kirill Orach and Maja Schlüter. Here, all participants enjoyed a lively discussion going beyond single case studies, aiming to reach general understanding on the transferability of findings, in particular with respect to social-ecological models.

However, the Resilience Conference goes beyond pure science, and especially different initiatives to connect Science and Art in order to benefit from more creativity in science were a remarkable contribution to the conference. One outstanding example was the keynote lecture by Marten Scheffer and Tone Bjordam, from which we learned that sometimes it’s important to “lose some time” in order to be creative again (see also this special issue in Ecology & Society, edited by Marten Scheffer, Frances Westley and Carl Folke). Tone Bjordam also crafted an interesting sculpture (depicted in one of the pictures in the gallery) that decorated – besides a range of other art installations – the conference venue.

More infos about the conference, including a range of blog posts and links to the other keynote lectures, can be found at resilience2017.org

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