Measuring and understanding sustainability-enhancing processes in tropical coastal and marine social–ecological systems

Article appearing in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

  • Co-Author:
  • Patrick Christie with Marion Glaser, Karen Diele, Larissa Dsikowtzky, Sebastian Ferse, Inga Nordhaus, Achim Schluter, Kathleen Schwerdtner Manes, and Christian Wild
  • Date: July, 2012

Tropical coastal and marine social–ecological systems (CM-SES) are diverse, complex and dynamic, facing special challenges as hotspots of biodiversity and centres of population growth. Sustainability science focuses on the state of such systems and mostly analyses undesirable social–ecological outcomes. In a collaborative effort between natural and social scientists, this paper examines not only key indicators for identifying the states of CM-SES but puts major emphasis on examining the processes that support sustainable tropical CM-SES dynamics. We identify a number of processes that drive desirable social–ecological dynamics, link the debates on ecosystem services and social–ecological systems analysis and offer a framework for identifying the links between key social–ecological processes. The article suggests linking relevant knowledge production processes and other sustainability-enhancing processes to each other and indicates related research needs.