Building a Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and

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Building a Southern African Program on Ecosystem Change and
InitialSciencePlan
BuildingaSouthernAfricanProgramon
EcosystemChangeandSociety(SAPECS)
Ideasemergingfrom1stSAPECSscopingworkshop
7‐10February2012,Stellenbosch,SouthAfrica
24August2012
CompiledbyOonsieBiggs&BelindaReyers
INTRODUCTION
ThisdocumentlaysoutapreliminarysetofideasfordevelopingaSouthernAfricanProgram
onEcosystemChangeandSociety(SAPECS).Theideaspresentedheresynthesizeandbuild
ondiscussionsandideasthatemergedduringaninitialSAPECSscopingworkshopheldin
Stellenbosch,7‐10February2012,thatincludedleadingSouthAfricanandinternational
scientistsinthefieldofsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservices(AppendixI).While
theprimarypurposeoftheworkshopwastodevelopaninitialscienceplanforSAPECS,astrong
desirewasexpressedtoalsostrengthenandbuildthecommunityofresearchersand
practitionersworkingonthedynamicsofintegratedsocial‐ecologicalsystemsinsouthern
Africaandtheecosystemservicestheyprovide.Webelievethatsuchanapproach,which
emphasizesbuildingacommunityofpracticealongsidedevelopingalonger‐termresearch
program,willprovideastrongerplatformforourresearchandincreaseourpotentialtoeffect
changeinthesouthernAfricanregion.Thisdocumentthereforelaysoutapreliminarysetof
ideasfordevelopingSAPECSoverthecomingtwoyearsorsointermsofi)developinga
collaborativeinternationalresearchprogramaroundsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystem
serviceresearchinsouthernAfrica,andii)strengtheningandbuildingacommunityofpractice
inthisfield.Thisinitialscienceplanwillcontinuetobeiterativelydevelopedandupdatedasthe
programdevelops.
THECHALLENGEWESEEKTOADDRESS
Humanimpactsonecosystemsarenowsoextensiveandpervasivethattheyhavesignificantly
changedthephysicalandbiologicalfunctioningoftheplanetataglobalscale1‐3.Whilethe
consequencesofthesefar‐reachingchangesremainuncertain,itisclearthattheappropriation
ofnaturalresourcesthatfuelledthistransformationoverthepasttwocenturiesimprovedthe
livesofmillionsofpeople4,5.Nevertheless,thereisincreasingevidencethatthescaleandscope
ofthesechangestotheEarthsystemcouldunderminethisrelativelynewfoundprosperityby
jeopardizingthecontinued,reliablesupplyofessentialecosystemservicesthatunderpinhuman
1 economies,healthandsecurity3,4.Furthermore,theescalatingcostsassociatedwiththeprocess
ofresourceappropriationthatenabledmanyoftoday’swealthiersocietiestoescapepoverty
makethisanincreasinglyunviablepathwayforbringingaboutasimilartransformationforthe
billionsofpeoplearoundtheworldstilllivinginpovertytoday1,4.Adefiningchallengeforthe
21stcenturyisthereforetofindalternativepathwaysforlarge‐scalesocietaltransformationout
ofpoverty,andatthesametimetosignificantlyreducetheimpactofourcurrenteconomiesand
activitiesonthefunctioningoftheEarthsystem6,7.Inshort,weneedtoradicallytransformour
relationshipandapproachtotheEarth’secosystemsonwhichhumanprosperitydepends.
Thischallengeisparticularlyacuteinsub‐SaharanAfrica,whereabouthalfthecurrent
populationlivesbelowtheWorldBank’spovertyline8,populationsinmanycountriesare
expectedtomorethandoubleby20509,andclimatechangeshockssuchasdroughtsandfloods
areprojectedtobemoreextremeandfrequentthaninotherpartsoftheworld2.Sub‐Saharan
AfricalagsfurthestbehindintermsoftheattainmentoftheMillenniumDevelopmentGoals
(MDGs)10.Africaisalsothecontinentexperiencingthemostrapidurbangrowth9.However,
manyAfricancitiesarelocatedinareasathighriskofclimate‐relatedhazards,whicharelikely
toamplifypre‐existingstressescausedbypoverty,economicinequity,socialtensions,and
insecurity2.Theseongoinglarge,rapidchangeswillsubstantiallyincreasedemandfor
ecosystemservicesintheregion,especiallyforfoodandcleanwater,andcombinedwith
climatechange,substantiallyincreasepressureontheregion’srichbiodiversityandalready
pressedagriculturalsystems4,11.Thesechangesarealsolikelytoalterimportantcultural
servicesthatunderpinlocalidentitiesandinfluencesocietalcohesion,affectingsociety’s
capacitytodealwithsocialandenvironmentalchange12.Findingnewwaysoffuellinglarge‐
scalewealthcreation,andfosteringproactivestewardshipofecosystemservices,including
thoseinurbanareas,isthereforecriticaltoshiftingsub‐SaharanAfricaontoapositive,
sustainabledevelopmenttrajectorythatisresilienttorapid,ongoingsocial‐ecologicalchangeat
localtoglobalscales.
THEIMPERATIVEFORANEWTYPEOFSCIENCE
Addressingthischallengerequires,atleastinpart,newwaysofthinkingandnewtypesof
science13,14,.Inparticularitrequiresamuchbetterunderstandingoftheinterconnectionsand
interactionsbetweenpeopleandecosystems,andthefactorsthatshapetheseinteractions6,15,16.
Itdemandsanappreciationofthecomplex,emergent,non‐linear,dynamicnatureof
intertwinedsocial‐ecologicalsystems,andtheircomplexconnectionsandinteractionsacross
spaceandtime.Suchunderstandinginturnrequiressignificantadvancesinbridgingthedivide
betweensocialandecologicalsciences,aswellasbetweenscienceandpractice13‐15.Itis
importanttoinvolvecitizensanddecisionmakersinco‐discoveringsolutionsandco‐inventing
anewfuture.Notonlyisknowledgeexchangeandsociallearningimportant,butanewformof
engagementisnecessaryintheformof‘situatedlearning’,whereagents(individualsand
organizations)becomeactivelyinvolvedingeneratingandexperimentingwithnewwaysof
actingintheirowncontexts.
Severallargeinitiativesandnewresearchareashaveemergedoverthepastdecadetostart
addressingtheseneeds.ExamplesincludetheMillenniumEcosystemAssessment4,12,the
IntergovernmentalScience‐PolicyPlatformonBiodiversityandEcosystemServices(IPBES)17,18,
theincreasinginterestincomplexsystemsapproachesacrossawidediversityoffields19‐21,and
thegrowinginterestinresilience‐basedapproaches15,22,23.Manyoftheseinitiativesfallunder
theumbrellaoftheemergingdisciplineofsustainabilityscience,thatfocuseson
transdisciplinary,problem‐drivenresearchthataddressesissuesofsocial‐ecological
sustainability24,25.TheemergingFutureEarth1initiativeaimstointegrate,buildonandadvance
previousandon‐goingresearchintheseareastodeveloptheknowledgeforresponding
1http://www.icsu.org/future‐earth/
2 effectivelytotherisksandopportunitiesofglobalenvironmentalchangeandforsupporting
transformationtowardsglobalsustainabilityinthecomingdecades.
Arelatedinitiative,juststartingup,istheinternationalProgramonEcosystemChangeand
Society(PECS),a10‐yearresearchinitiativewithintheICSUglobalchangeprogramsthataims
tointegrateresearchonthestewardshipofsocial–ecologicalsystems,theservicesthey
generate,andtherelationshipsamongnaturalcapital,humanwellbeing,livelihoods,inequality
andpoverty26.ThegoalofPECSistogeneratethescientificandpolicy‐relevantknowledgeof
social–ecologicaldynamicsneededtoenableaglobalshifttowardssustainablestewardshipof
social–ecologicalsystems.ItisenvisagedthatPECSwillconsistofarangeofplace‐basedcase
studiesaroundtheworldthatwillbeinitiatedanddriventhroughbottom‐upprocesses,anduse
avarietyoftransdisciplinaryapproachesandmethods.Thesebottom‐up‐initiatedcasestudies
canapplyforendorsementasanofficialPECScasestudy,basedoncriterialistedinAppendixII.
PECSitselfwillnotfundresearch,butcanhelpaccessfundingandbuildinternationalconsortia.
TheinternationalprojectofficeforPECSisbasedattheStockholmResilienceCentreinSweden,
anditsmainroleistofacilitateinteractionbetweenthevariouscasestudiesaroundtheworld.
BUILDINGASOUTHERNAFRICANRESEARCHPROGRAM
ThisdocumentlaysoutsomeinitialideasaboutbuildingasouthernAfricanresearchprogram
linkedtoPECSthatcanhelpleveragechangeinrelationtothemanagementofsocial‐ecological
systemsandecosystemservicesinthesouthernAfricanregion,andgrowthecommunityof
researchersandpractitionersworkinginsouthernAfricainthisfield.WebelievethatPECS
presentsanexcitingopportunitytoworktowardstheseobjectives,andcancomplementand
worksynergisticallywithotherregionalinitiativesthatarebuildingtowardssimilargoals(e.g.,
SouthernAfricanRAnode,ComplexityForum,DST’sGlobalChangeGrandChallengeand
ACCESS),organizationsdoingrelatedworkinthebroadersub‐SaharanAfricaregion(e.g.,
CGIAR,IIASA),aswellasinternationalprogramsinthisarea(e.g.NaturalCapitalProject,
IPBES).WethereforeenvisagethatSAPECSwillinvolvebothregionalandinternational
researchersandpractitionersworkingonsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservicesin
thesouthernAfricanregion.
SouthernAfricaprovidesaparticularlyimportantandinterestingcontextforPECS,giventhe
hugediversitythatexistsintheregionintermsofsocio‐economiclevels,ecosystemsand
culturesaswellaswithintheresearchcommunityitself.Itisoneoftheworld’smostrapidly
developingregionsandhasinvestedinandisexperimentingwitharangeofinnovative,large
scaleapproachestoecosystemmanagement(e.g.WorkingforWaterProgramme),makingitan
especiallyinterestingplacetostudyprocessesoftransformation.Furthermore,giventheslow
progresstowardstheMDGs,southernAfricapresentsanidealopportunitytoinvestigatehow
engagedresearchonecosystemsandsocietycouldcontributetoimprovedhumanwell‐being.
DiscussionsaboutincludingSAPECSasaPECScasestudyhavebeenenthusiasticallyreceivedby
thePECSScientificCommittee.FromtheSAPECSperspective,benefitsofaffiliationtoPECSare
thatitprovidesopportunitiestointeractandworkwithothercutting‐edgeinternational
researchgroupsinthisfield,toleverageandaccessfunding,toengagewithsocietyanddecision
makersinawaywhichconnectsscienceandsociety,andtoparticipateininternationaltraining
workshops,whileprovidingtheautonomytolargelydefineourownresearchquestions,
approachandstructure.Ontheotherhand,SAPECScancontributeimportantpolicy‐relevant
insightsfromthesouthernAfricanperspectivetotheglobalPECSprocessandotherglobal
processes,potentiallyextendingourresearchimpact.Furthermore,asoneofthefirstcase
studies,SAPECScanplayanimportantroleindevelopingapproachesandmethodsforthe
broaderPECSinitiative,includingwaysofengagingdecisionmakersandcitizenstopromote
improvedecosystemstewardship.
3 WeenvisagethatSAPECSwillconsistofanetworkofcasestudiesatseveralscales,aswellas
variouscross‐cuttingresearchprojectsandworkinggroups,workingwithinashared
conceptualframeworkonacommonsetofcorethemes,toformavibrantcommunityof
practice(seefollowingsectionsformoredetail).Thecasestudiesandprojectswillcollectand
analysenewdata,butanequallyimportantfocuswillbetoundertakecross‐cuttingsyntheses
andcomparisonsbasedonexistingknowledgeanddata,inordertocapitalizeonthestrong
researchthathasalreadybeendoneintheregion.
Bycommunityofpracticewemeanagroupofpeopleinformallyboundtogetherbyshared
expertiseandacommondomainofinterestwhointeractregularlytoshareinformationand
experiencesinordertolearnfromeachotheranddevelopthemselvespersonallyand
professionally27.InthecaseofSAPECSweenvisagethiscommunitycentredonagroupof
regionalandinternationalresearchersandpractitionerswhoareactivelyengagedinstudying
thedynamicsofcomplexadaptivesocial‐ecologicalsystemsandtheecosystemservicesthey
provideinthesouthernAfricanregion,andengagingwithpolicy‐makersandpractitionersto
mainstreamthisknowledge.WhileitisimperativethatSAPECSisregionallyownedandled,we
foreseesubstantialinvolvementofinternationalresearchersintheprogram,bringingwithit
newcapacity,skills,ideasandnetworksthatcancontributetobuildinganexciting,innovative
andcuttingedgeresearchprogramandcommunityofpractice–amodelalreadybeguninour
initialscopingworkshop.Thegoalofthiscommunityofpracticeistoshareexpertiseand
knowledgeandprovideaplatformfortransdisciplinaryresearchcollaborationinrelationto
SAPECSandsocial‐ecologicalandecosystemservicesresearchinsouthernAfricamore
generally.Weexpectthatpeoplewillparticipatetodifferentdegrees,dependingontheir
interests.Ourcommunityofpracticewillalsolinktovariouscommunitiesofinterest,consisting
ofpeopleinterestedinourworkbutwhoarenotthemselvesactivelyworkingintheareaof
social‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservices(e.g.NGOgroups,practitionerforums).
BasedontheSAPECSscopingworkshopandpreviousexperienceintransdisciplinaryscientific
collaborationswebelieveseveralthingscanbeputinplacetofosteravibrant,collaborativeand
impact‐orientedresearchprogramandassociatedcommunityofpractice.Weproposethat
somekeyingredientsinclude(butarenotlimitedto):









Commonobjectives
Sharedconceptualframework
Commonresearchthemes
Commonwaysofworking,includingactiveengagementwithstakeholders
Bottom‐upinitiatedresearchprojects
Cross‐projectworkinggroups
Face‐to‐facemeetings
Studentandresearcherexchanges
Electroniccommunicationse.g.,website,email,onlineforum
Thefollowingsectionslayoutourinitialthinkingwithrespecttoeachofthesecomponents,
drawingonthediscussionsattheworkshop.Astheprogramdevelops,weexpectthatthese
initialideaswillbefurtherdevelopedandclarifiedinaniterativeway.
4 OBJECTIVES
SAPECSwillbedevelopedasatransdisciplinaryinternationalresearchprogramthataimsto
advancestewardshipofsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservicesinsouthernAfrica,by:
1. Producingabodyofempiricalevidenceanddevelopinginnovative,practicaltheoryand
toolstoimproveunderstandingofsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservicesinthe
regionanddevelopingcountrycontexts.
2. Mainstreamingknowledgeintopolicyandpractice,andincorporatingexperiencesfrom
policyandpracticeintoourscientificunderstanding,inordertohaveatangibleimpactand
effectchangeinthegovernanceandmanagementofsocial‐ecologicalsystemsintheregion.
3. Growingthecommunityofpractice,includingresearchers,studentsandpractitioners
engagedinresearchandmanagementofsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservicesin
thesouthernAfricanregion.
CONCEPTUALFRAMEWORK
Experiencesuggeststhatasharedconceptualframeworkiskeytodevelopingbothasuccessful,
innovative,transdisciplinaryresearchprogramaswellasavibrantcommunityofpractice.
DrawingontheMillenniumEcosystemAssessmentandsubsequentwork,weproposethe
social‐ecologicalframeworkdepictedinFigure1asastartingpoint.Asshowninthefigure,we
proposethatSAPECSfocusonthedynamicsofinterconnectedsocial‐ecologicalsystems,which
weunderstandtobecomplexadaptivesystemssubjecttononlinearbehaviourandassociated
withsubstantialuncertainties.Inparticular,weareinterestedin:

Howthedynamicsofsocial‐ecologicalsystemsinsouthernAfricaareshapedbystructures
andprocessesatinterconnectedlocal,regionalandglobalscales,aswellasoverarangeof
timescalesfromshorttolong‐term.

Howchangesinsocial‐ecologicalsystemsinfluencehumanwell‐beingandequityin
southernAfrica,especiallythroughtheirimpactsonecosystemservices.

Howchangesingovernanceandmanagementpracticesshapesocial‐ecologicalsystems,and
howdifferenthumanwell‐beingoutcomesandlearningprocessesinturninfluencethese
practices.
Bundles of Ecosystem Services
mediated by ES
Benefits
Interactions not Human Well‐being & Equity
Learning & Responses
Governance & Management Practices
Production
Interventions
Social‐Ecological Systems
Structure & Dynamics
Local ↔ Regional ↔ Global
Fig1.Proposedconceptual
frameworkforSAPECSresearch.We
suggestthatSAPECSfocusoni)how
changesinthestructureand
dynamicsofsocial‐ecological
systemsaffecthumanwell‐beingand
equity,especiallythroughimpacts
onecosystemservices,andii)how
learningandchangesingovernance
andmanagementpracticesoccur
andhowthesecanbeleveragedto
enhancestewardshipofsocial‐
ecologicalsystems,andbringabout
transformationsinsuchsystems.
ModifiedfromReyersetal.inreview.
5 RESEARCHTHEMES
Experiencesimilarlysuggeststhatexcitingnewinsightsandinnovationsaswellascommunities
ofpracticearegreatlyfacilitatedbysharedfocalresearchthemesorareaswhichcanprovidea
platformforcollaborationandsyntheses.Duringthediscussionsattheworkshopweidentified
fourinitialresearchthemesthatwefeltarebothimportantresearchgapsandtopicsaround
whichinterestingcollaborationsandcomparisonsacrossindividualresearchsitesinsouthern
Africaarepossible.Thesefourthemesare(Figure2):
1) Linksbetweenecosystemservicesandhumanwell‐being,withanemphasisonpovertyand
inequality
2) Howgovernanceandmanagementinstitutionsandpracticesaffectsocial‐ecological
systems,includingthecapacityforlearningandtransformation
3) Potentialtrapsandtransformationsinthestructureanddynamicsofsocial‐ecological
systems,andtheconsequencesofdifferenttrajectoriesofdevelopmentforhumanwell‐
being
4) Cross‐scaleconnectionsthatimpactthestructureanddynamicsofsocial‐ecologicalsystems
atdifferentscales
Examplesofthetypesofquestionsweareinterestedtoinvestigatewithineachofthesethemes
aregiveninBox1.
Stewardship of Social-Ecological Systems
and Ecosystem Services in Southern Africa
Ecosystem services & Human well-being
(emphasizing poverty and inequality)
Governance and management
institutions and practices
Traps and transformations
(emphasizing vulnerability & thresholds)
Cross-scale connections and flows
Mainstreaming & Communication
Transdisciplinary Collaboration & Training
Research Themes & Modes of Research
Fig2.Proposedcoreresearch
themesandapproacheswithin
SAPECS.Wehaveidentified
fourinitialresearchthemes
aroundwhichtofocus
researchinSAPECS(dark
grey).Inadditionwesee
transdisciplinarymodesof
collaborativeresearchand
training,aswellasan
emphasisonmainstreaming
andcommunicationascore
characteristicsofthewayin
whichSAPECSresearchis
done(red).
WAYSOFWORKING:TRANSDISCIPLINARITY&MAINSTREAMING
Therewasastrongrecognitionthatthewayinwhichwedoresearchshouldbeadistinguishing
featureofSAPECS–namely,thatourresearchshouldbecharacterizedbytransdisciplinary,
collaborativeapproaches,andpayparticularattentiontotransdisciplinarytraining,aswellas
mainstreamingandcommunication(Figure2).Inadoptingatransdisciplinaryapproachwe
meanthatourresearchshoulddrawonandintegrateperspectivesandapproachesfroma
varietyofdisciplines,whileavoidingsuperficialworkattheboundariesofdisciplinesby
activelyseekingdepthofunderstandingfromallperspectives.Anotheraspectofthis
transdisciplinaryapproachwillbeactivelyworkingwithstakeholdersandpractitionersinthe
designandconductofresearch.Wewillemphasizetrainingofstudentsintransdisiplinary
approaches,andlinktogetherteamsofstudentswithdifferentdisciplinarybackgroundsto
identifyresearchtopicsandsolveproblemsincollaborationwithstakeholders.
6 Furthermore,giventhedesireforSAPECSresearchtohavetangibleimpactsonpolicyand
practice,wewillpayparticularattentiontocommunicationandmainstreamingofourfindings
andinsightsintheconductofourresearch.Webelievethatitisimportantthatdecisionmakers,
civilsocietyandstudentsnotonlybegivenaccesstoinformationbutareactivelyinvolvedin
co‐discoveringnewpossibilities,andco‐inventingnewwaysofdoing(notjustthinking).This
typeof‘situatedlearning’,alsocalled‘inquirylearning’,isessentialfortranslatingknowledgeto
action.Thereisgrowingrecognitionthatcognitiveprocesses(i.e.‘thinkingaboutchange’)are
lessimportantthanthesocialcontextwithinwhichlearningtakesplaceandtheactual
engagementofagentsinthelearningprocess28,29,andtheapproachisfirmlyembeddedin
environmentaleducationpractice.
Lastly,weproposethatallresearchundertheSAPECSumbrellabecommittedtoopennessand
datasharing.
BOX1–POTENTIALRESEARCHQUESTIONSINRELATIONTOKEYTHEMES&APPROACHES
Ecosystem Services & Human Well‐Being
 How can ES contribute to poverty alleviation?  What is the role of ES in livelihood options?  What are conflict hotspots in ES tradeoffs?  How do cultural ES vary with scale?  What places have anomalies in ES supply? Why?  How does connectivity impact disease regulation?  How does type of urbanization impact ES & HWB?  How does tourism impact ES & HWB?  How can ecological infrastructure enhance ES?  How do people connect with nature in the city?  How do valued ES change with urbanization?  How can we better measure human well‐being?  How do we measure natural capital? Governance and Management institutions & Practices  How does institutional diversity across countries impact ES management?  What drives decisions at different scales?  What institutional structures facilitate or constrain successful ES management (including transboundary)?  What opportunities do economic development strategies (eg IDP, SDP, DMP) provide for improved SES stewardship and ES management?  How can land reform and redistribution account for ES & SES stewardship?  How does inequality impact ES management?  What is the role of civic society actors involved in the management of urban ES?  How do local actors interface with one another and link upwards to government?  How can the capacity of agencies, communities and societies to navigate away from traps towards more sustainable trajectories be enhanced? Traps and transformations  What are the main types of SES traps & shifts that have occurred in the region?  What are ES impacts of different future land transformation trajectories in the region?  How does infrastructure shape ES pathways?  What is the potential for social‐ecological restoration? How can green jobs contribute?  How do regulating services impact the risk of traps and negative shifts?  What is relation between ES variability & risk?  How are different mental models constructed via engagement with local ecosystems?  How does social structure and agency influence trajectories of social‐ecological transformation? Cross‐scale connections & flows  What are the trade footprints of ES regionally and globally?  What ES flow into and out of large metropolitan areas eg Cape Town?  How do global trends play out in local places?  What drives human migration in the region and how does it link to ES? Transdisciplinarity  How is transdisciplinary science done?  How to foster collaborative TD teams?  How do we build capacity for TD? Mainstreaming  How to connect politicians to the Biosphere?  How do we tell our stories more effectively?  What existing processes can we tap into? 7 HOWWILLSAPECSBEORGANIZED?
WeproposethatSAPECSbeorganizedinaflexible,self‐organizingway,principallystructured
aroundi)bottom‐upinitiatedresearchprojects,ii)cross‐cuttingsyntheticworkinggroups,iii)
face‐to‐facemeetings,includingstudentandresearchexchanges,andiv)onlineinteractions.
Eachofthesecomponentsisdescribedinthefollowingsections.
WeenvisagethattheSAPECScommunitywillalsoactivelylinktoandinteractwithotherkey
researchnetworks(e.g.SouthernAfricanRAnode,SAEON),professionalsocieties,andforums
(e.g.ComplexityForum,BiodiversityPlanningForum,AridZoneForum)intheregionand
internationally(Figure3).Thiscouldbeintheformofsharedprojects,workinggroups,
participatinginconferencesandcolloquiaetc.Dependingonhowinterestdevelops,theremay
alsobescopeinthelongertermforestablishingourownforumspecificallyaround
transdisciplinarysocial‐ecologicalandecosystemserviceissues.
Fig3.WeenvisagethatSAPECSwillbeorganizedaroundasetofbottom‐upinitiatedcollaborativeresearch
projectsandcross‐cuttingworkinggroups.SAPECSwillalsoactivelyseektobuildalargercommunityof
practicearoundsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservicesinsouthernAfrica,throughtraining
workshopsandlinkstootherkeyresearchnetworksandforums.Theworkinggroupsandprojectsinthe
figurearesimplyexamplesandhavenotyetbeendecidedupon.
8 i.
Bottom‐UpInitiatedResearchProjects
GiventhescopeoftheissuesSAPECSplanstotackle,insteadoftryingtodesignalargeresearch
programinatop‐downway,SAPECSwillcompriseanetworkofindividual,bottom‐upinitiated
researchprojectsthatarebasedonoursharedconceptualframeworkandcontributetothe
SAPECSresearchthemes.WethereforeenvisagethatSAPECSfunctionasaflexibleplatformor
networkforformingnewprojectcollaborations,andforlinking,leveragingandsynthesizing
acrossvariousindividualprojectstogainnewscientificinsightsandstrengthenourcommunity
ofpractice.Someexistingprojectsidentifiedattheworkshopthatcouldpotentiallybe
incorporatedintoSAPECSarelistedinAppendixIII.
Inadoptingthisstructure,wewouldlikeSAPECStobequiteopenandflexible,butatthesame
timeensurethatitisintellectuallyattractiveandmaintainsahighlevelofinnovationand
researchquality.Thiswillrequiresomedegreeofselectionofparticipantsinordertobuildthe
trustandcross‐disciplinaryunderstandingneededtodocuttingedgetransdisciplinaryscience,
keepintellectualleadersoftheresearchexcitedandengaged,andcompeteforlargerfunding
opportunities.SimilartoPECS,wethereforesuggestweagreeonsomerelativelyopencriteria
(egAppendixII)fordecidingwhichexistingornewprojectsareofficiallySAPECS‐affiliated
projects–withtheprinciplethatthecoreSAPECScommunityneedstobecentredon
researcherswithrelevantexpertiseandon‐goingresearchintheareaofinteresttoSAPECS.
PeopleinvolvedintheseSAPECS‐affiliatedprojectswillthenhavepreferentialaccesstocertain
meetingsandfundingopportunities.However,givenourcommitmenttomainstreamingand
growingthebroadercommunityofpractice,wewillmakesurethattherearealwayssome
meetingsandactivitiesthatareopentoall.
However,thisisjustasuggestionandweproposetodiscussthisissuefurtheratournext
meetinginOctober.Ifwegothisroute,wesuggestappointingasmallgrouptooverseethe
approvalprocess(whichshouldbesimpleandstraightforward),withtheinitialsuggestion(to
befurtherdiscussed)thatthekeycriteriaforincludingaprojectinSAPECSbethatit:
i)
ii)
iii)
iv)
v)
vi)
vii)
contributetooneormoreoftheSAPECSresearchthemes
beanchoredwithinoursharedconceptualframework
followatransdisciplinary,mainstreamingapproachinconductingtheresearch
includeanaspectofcapacitybuildingortrainingtobuildthebroadercommunity
followanyagreed‐uponmethodsandprotocolsdevelopedwithinSAPECS
becommittedtoopenness,data‐sharingandcollaboration
projectleadershaveatrackrecordinhighquality,relevantresearchorpractice,orinthe
caseofstudentsaresupervisedbysomeonewithanappropriatetrackrecord.
viii) involveatleast2researchersworkingcollaboratively(couldbeasupervisorandstudent)
Weenvisagethattheseindividualbottom‐upprojectswouldbeinitiatedandcoordinatedby
individualresearchersorself‐organizedsubgroups.Projectscouldaddressarangeoftopicsin
oneparticularplace,orinvolveacomparisonofseveraldifferentlocationsorscalesinrelation
toaspecificissueorsetofissues.Eventuallywewouldideallyliketohaveacollectionof
projectsthatcoverourcoreresearchthemesatarangeofdifferentscales(local,national,
regional)andacrossavarietyofsocial‐ecologicalcontexts(withinSouthAfricaandother
countries),therebyhelpingtoinformpolicyframeworksatdifferentlevels(Figure4).Weare
specificallytargetingamulti‐scaleandcross‐scaledesigninrecognitionofthefactthat:

Social‐ecologicalsystemsandtheircomponentsinteractacrossscalese.g.benefitflows
generatedatthelocalscalecanbenefitregionalcommunities

Differentcomponentsfunctiondifferentlyatdifferentscalese.g.culturalservicesmay
includetourismataregionalscale,whilespiritualvaluesaremoreimportantatalocalscale
9 
Governanceandmanagementdifferacrossscalese.g.inSouthAfricalegislationis
determinednationally,budgetsallocatedprovincially,anddecisionsmadeatalocalscale.
Despitethebottom‐up,flexiblenatureofindividualstudieswithinSAPECS,webelievetherecan
beaddedvalueinco‐developingandsharingsomecommonmethodsandotherprotocolsacross
projects.Thiswillnotonlyhelpdevelopbettermethodsthatdrawonandbenefitfrommultiple
inputsanddisciplinaryexpertise,butalsofacilitatethecomparisonanduseofdataacrosssites
andscales.Weenvisagethatsuchmethodsandprotocolswillbedevelopedbyvariouscross‐
cuttingworkinggroupsinrelationtodifferenttopics(e.g.mappingecosystemservices),and
sharedwiththebroadergroupattheSAPECSmeetings(seenextpoint).Insomecaseswemay
arrangespecialroundtablediscussionsorworkshopstodevelopparticularmethods,orco‐
developnewpaperstoexploreparticularcross‐cuttingmethodsandissues.AsSAPECSand
PECSdevelopwemaydecidetohavesomeofthesemethodsorprotocolsbecomekeycriteria
forSAPECSprojectsinordertoenablegreatercomparabilitybetweenprojects.However,given
theexploratorystageofdevelopmentofmanymethodsinthisresearchareaatthecurrenttime,
wewillinitiallyleavethechoiceofmethodsandprotocolsopentotheindividualprojects.
Relevant Policy Frameworks
SADC Region
Other countries
Cape Town Metropole
Eastern Cape
Drakens
berg
NEPAD, IPBES, etc
National growth plans, NBSAP, etc
South Africa
Bushbuck
ridge
Etc.
Development plans, disaster management, etc
Fig4.EventuallywehopethatSAPECSwillgrowintoasetoftransdisciplinarystudiesthatspanarangeof
spatialscalesandsocial‐ecologicalcontextsthroughoutthesouthernAfricanregion.Studiesateachlocality
orscalewillcompriseoneorseveralinterlinkedbottom‐upprojects(bottomlevelinFigure3).These
differentstudieswillbeinformedbyandtargetarangeofpolicyframeworks(figuregivesexamplesonly)at
differentscales.ThefigureshowssomeexistingstudiesthatcouldformpartofSAPECSbutthishasnotyet
beendecided.
ii.
Cross‐CuttingWorkingGroups
Inadditiontoindividualresearchprojects,SAPECSwillbeorganizedaroundasetofcross‐
cuttingworkinggroupstofostercollaborationandknowledge‐sharingandtherebyhelpgrow
thecommunityofpracticeandincreasethepotentialfornewinsights.Asinthecaseofthe
individualresearchprojects,theseworkinggroupswillbeinitiatedandledbymembersofthe
SAPECScommunitywhohaveapassionforaparticularissue.Workinggroupscouldfocuson
specificcross‐cuttingresearchtopics(e.g.methodsformappingecosystemservices,shared
protocolsforinsitudatacollection),buildinghumancapital(e.g.workinggroupsoneducation
andtraining,mainstreaming),orcouldinsomecaseslinkdirectlytocollaborativeresearch
projects(e.g.developingacollaborativefundingproposal).
10 WesuggestthatanyoneassociatedwithanSAPECSaffiliatedproject(andhencepartofthe
SAPECScommunity)beabletoproposeacollaborativeworkinggroupprovideditfallswithin
thescopeofoursharedresearchframeworkandagenda,andthatworkinggroupsexistforas
longasthereisaninterest.Somegroupsmaythereforebeonce‐offorshorttermgroups
focusedonaparticulareventorissue,whileotherscouldexistformanyyears.Becauseofthe
interestingrowingthelargercommunityofpracticeandinfluencingpolicyandpracticeinthe
region,weenvisagethattrainingworkshopsforstudentsandpractitioners,aswellasthe
developmentofproductstohelpcommunicateandmainstreamourresearch(e.g.policy
roundtables,policybriefs,website)willbekeyworkinggroupinitiatives.
InitialworkinggroupsproposedatthefirstSAPECSmeetinginclude(groupcoordinatorislisted
initalics):
1. Ecosystemservicemapping–RebeckaMalinga,MaikeHamann,OdiSelomane,Line
Gordon,ReginaLindborg,BelindaReyers,OonsieBiggs,PatrickO’Farrell,JeanneNel,Garry
Peterson,VanessaMasterson,MariaTengö,LuthandoDziba,MarjaSpierenburg
2. TheoryDevelopment–GraemeCumming,OonsieBiggs,BelindaReyers,BobScholes
3. ImpactsofclimatechangeonES–BobScholes,LuthandoDziba,LineGordon
4. Communitiesofpracticeandtransdisciplinarywork‐Georgina,Dirk,Tally
5. Mainstreaming–NadiaSitas,PatrickO’Farrell,JeanneNel,TraceyCumming,Richard
Cowling,BelindaReyers,LuthandoDziba,ChristoFabricius
6. Website–OonsieBiggs,MaikeHamann,VanessaMasterson,NadiaSitas
7. Education&Training–ChristoFabricius,KarenEsler,BiancaCurrie
8. Youngscientists–MaikeHamann,VanessaMasterson,NadiaSitas,OdiSelomane,Ryan
Blanchard,IlseKotzee,RebeckaMalinga,BiancaCurrie
9. Funding‐ChristoFabricius,BelindaReyers,OonsieBiggs
WeenvisagethattheseworkinggroupswillbeakeymechanismforbuildingtheSAPECS
communityoverthenext2yearsbyprovidingaplatformforknowledgesharingandfacilitating
collaborations.Insodoingwehopetodevelopaplatformthatisreadytotakeadvantageof
somelargerfundingcallstodevelopcollaborativeproposalsthatcanhelpfurtherbuildthe
SAPECSprograminexcitingandinnovativenewways.Inthemeantimeweencouragegroup
leadersandmemberstoapproachtheirrespectiveinstitutionsforco‐fundingofworking
groups.Alogicalnextstepmaybetodevelopacollectiveproposalforsubmissiontothe
respectiveinstitutionsofthecoreSAPECSparticipants.Thismightrequiresomekindofa
governanceframework(orsecretariat)toensurethatfundsareproperlyandaccountably
spent.
iii.
Face‐To‐FaceMeetings
Face‐to‐facemeetingsareclearlyanessentialcomponentofasuccessfultransdisciplinary
researchprogramandcommunityofpractice.Weenvisageseveraltypesofface‐to‐face
meetingswithinSAPECS:

AnnualmeetingsofthefullSAPECScommunity.

Workinggroupmeetings,coordinatedbytheworkinggroupcoordinator,andwhichcould
occuropportunisticallyinconjunctionwithindividualprojectmeetings,orwhenseveral
peopleattendthesameconferenceorworkshop.

Individualresearchprojectmeetings,coordinatedbytheindividualprojectleaders

StudentandresearcherexchangesbetweenSAPECSmemberinstitutions
11 AnnualSAPECSMeeting:WeproposethatthefullSAPECScommunitymeetsatleastoncea
yeartoshareandsynthesizeinsightsandlessonsfromtheindividualprojects,advancethe
workinggroups,anddevelopnewideasforsynthesesandcollaborations.Weenvisagethatthis
“AnnualSAPECSmeeting”consistofi)1‐2daysofcolloquium‐typepresentationsand
discussionsthatwouldbeopentoanyonetoattend,andii)2‐3daysofworkinggroupmeetings
andinnovativebreakoutsessionsopenonlytoSAPECSprojectmemberstosynthesizenew
insightsintopapers,developnewteachingorpolicyoutputs,buildnewcollaborations,develop
proposals,etc.Atleastinitially,OonsieBiggsandBelindaReyersvolunteertofacilitatethese
annualmeetings.However,atthisstage,travelandaccommodationcostswouldneedtobe
coveredbyindividualparticipants.Inthelonger‐termtheseannualmeetingscouldpotentially
morphintoourownforum‐typeactivity.
Workinggroupmeetings:Inadditiontothe4‐5dayannualSAPECSmeetings,weenvisagethat
wewouldhaveatleastonesmaller2‐3day“WorkingGroupMeeting”eachyear.Thesemay
oftenbeheldinconjunctionwithotherforumsormeetingsthatseveralSAPECSmembersare
attending.ThesemeetingwouldbeforSAPECSprojectmemberstogettogethertoshareideas,
advancecross‐cuttingworkinggroups,andfurthercollaborations.Thefirstofthesesmaller
workinggroupmeetingswillbeheld25‐26October2012inStellenbosch,inconjunctionwith
thefirstmeetingoftheComplexityForum.Weplantousethisopportunitytoadvancethe
workinggroupsproposedatthefirstSAPECSworkshop,aswellastoagreeoncriteriaanda
processforapprovingSAPECSaffiliatedprojects.
Othermeetings:BeyondthevariousSAPECS‐relatedmeetings,wewouldliketoactively
participateinthemeetingsofotherrelevantcommunities,suchastheComplexityForum,
FynbosForum,andmeetingsandconferencesofprofessionalsocietiesinordertohelp
mainstreamknowledgearoundsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservicesinsouthern
Africa.Whereappropriate,wemayconsiderrunningsomespecialsessionsonSAPECSatthese
meetings.Thesewouldalsobeopportunitiesforsomeworkinggroupsorindividualproject
teamstogettogetherface‐to‐face.
Studentandresearcherexchanges:SAPECSwillencourageyoungscientistsandresearchersin
theSAPECScommunitytovisitotherSAPECSmemberinstitutionstoshareresearchideasand
experiencesandlearnnewmethods.
iv.
Onlineinteraction
Weplantodevelopawebsiteandpotentiallysetupanemaillistand/oronlineforumto
facilitateinteractionandsharingofideasbetweenmeetings.Inparticular,weplantosetupa
forumforstudents/youngresearcherstoconnectwithoneanother.Sometentativeideashave
beendevelopedbythewebsiteworkinggroup,andthesewillbefurtherdevelopedatthe
Octobermeeting.
LONGER‐TERMPOSSIBILITIES
WedonotseeSAPECSasanendinitself,butratherasaspringboardfordevelopingsome
excitinglonger‐terminitiativesinthesouthernAfricanregion.Inparticular,wefeelthatSAPECS
couldprovideaplatformforbuildingtowardssomesortoftransdisciplinarycenterofexpertise
intheareaofsocial‐ecologicalsystemsandecosystemservicesinsouthernAfrica.Whatform
thiscentremighttakeisasyetunclear,butsomepotentialoptionsmightincludeavirtual
centrewithaffiliatesindifferentplaces,aCentreofExcellence‐typeofnodewithdifferentsub‐
12 nodes,orasemi‐independentresearchcentre.Suchacentrecouldsubstantiallystrengthenour
contributionofcutting‐edgeinsightsintoecosystemserviceandresilienceissuesfroma
southernAfricanperspective,withanexplicitfocusonissuesofpovertyalleviationandequity.
WebelievethatestablishingasuccessfulSAPECSinitiative,withstronginternationallinks,will
provideanexcellentbaseandnetworkfromwhichtopotentiallydevelopsomesortofcentrein
thelongerterm,andleverageourskillsandexpertisetobuildcapacityandeffectchangeinthe
widersouthernAfricanregion.
NEXTSTEPSINTHESHORTER‐TERM
Wehavethefollowingactivitiesplannedforthecomingmonths:
1. 2ndSAPECSworkshop–25‐26October2012,Stellenbosch
ThisworkshopwillbeheldimmediatelyafterthefirstmeetingofthenewComplexity
Forum(22‐24OctoberatSTIAS,Stellenbosch).Thisworkshopwillbelargelyfocusedon
advancingtheworkinggroupsidentifiedatthe1stworkshop,developinganynewworking
groupsthatareproposed,andagreeingonthecriteriaandprocessforSAPECSaffiliated
projects.TheworkshopwillbeorganizedbyOonsieandBelinda;moredetailstofollow.
2. Insights/frameworkpaper
Basedonthequestionnairecirculatedafterthe1stworkshop,wearedevelopingashort
papertointroduceSAPECSandsynthesizesomeofthekeyinsightsthathavebeengained
fromtransdisciplinarysocial‐ecologicalworkinsouthernAfricatodate.Adraftwillbe
circulatedforcommentinSeptember.Theintentionistoincludethepaperinaspecialissue
ofEcologyandSocietyfocusingontheapplicationofcomplexitythinkinginsouthernAfrica.
3. SAPECSwebsite
WewilldevelopasetofideasforaSAPECSwebsiteforfurtherdiscussionandinputatthe
Octoberworkshop.Ideallywewouldlikeaninitialversionupandrunningbytheendofthe
yearforcommentandfeedback.
4. Meetingsin2013
Weproposethatwegatheratleasttwicein2013:i)incollaborationwiththeRAscience
meetingorthenewecosystemservicesforuminthefirstquarterof2013,andii)haveour
firstofficialannualmeetinginthelaterpartof2013.
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14 APPENDIXI–Participantsof1stSAPECSScopingWorkshop,7‐10February2012
Name Albert van Jaarsveld Institution NRF Email [email protected]
Belinda Reyers CSIR [email protected]
Bob Scholes Carl Folke CSIR SRC [email protected]
[email protected] Christo Fabricius Claire Brown NMMU UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre [email protected] [email protected]‐wcmc.org Dirk Roux Edith Madela‐Mntla SANParks ICSU ROA [email protected] [email protected]‐africa.org Garry Peterson Georgina Cundill Graeme Cumming SRC Rhodes University UCT [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Graham Jewitt UKZN [email protected] Henrik Ernstson Ilse Kotzee SRC, African Centre for Cities Stellenbosch University & CSIR
[email protected] [email protected]
James Gambiza Rhodes University
[email protected]
Jeanne Nel CSIR [email protected] Karen Esler Line Gordon Luthando Dziba Stellenbosch University SRC CSIR [email protected] [email protected]
[email protected] Maike Hamann Maria Tengö Stockholm University, SRC & CSIR SRC [email protected] [email protected] Marja Spierenburg Nadia Sitas Odirilwe Selomane VU University Amsterdam Stellenbosch University & CSIR Stellenbosch University & CSIR
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Oonsie Biggs SRC [email protected]
Patrick O'Farrell CSIR [email protected] Rebecka Malinga Regina Lindborg Stockholm University & SRC Stockholm University [email protected] [email protected] Richard Cowling NMMU [email protected] Ryan Blanchard Sharon Pollard Tally Palmer Stellenbosch University & CSIR AWARD Rhodes University
[email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Thomas Elmqvist Tracey Cumming SRC SANBI [email protected] [email protected] Vanessa Masterson Stockholm University, SRC & CSIR
[email protected]
List of abbreviations: AWARD CSIR ICSU ROA NMMU NRF SANBI SANParks SRC UCT UKZN UWC Association for Water & Rural Development
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research International Council for Science ‐ Regional Office for Africa
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University National Research Foundation
South African Biodiversity Institute
South African National Parks
Stockholm Resilience Centre
University of Cape Town
University of KwaZulu‐Natal
University of the Western Cape
15 APPENDIXII–EndorsementCriteriaforPECSCaseStudies
EndorsementbyPECSobligesacasestudytoconformtothescientificaims,criteriaofscientific
scopeandexcellence,principlesofopennessandfreeexchangeofdata,asexpressedinthe
scienceandimplementationplansofPECS.
Whenanexternalprojectappliesforendorsement,initialcontactshouldbewiththePECS
InternationalProgrammeOffice(PECS‐IPO),eitherdirectlyorviaamemberofthePECSScience
Committee(PECS‐SC).Aformalrequestforendorsementshouldbesenttothechairofthe
PECS‐SCorthePECSExecutiveOffices.ThePECS‐SCorPECSExecutiveOfficerwillinformthe
PECS‐SCandwillfacilitateadecisionbythePECS‐SC.Theapplicantwillbeinformedofthe
decisionbythePECSExecutiveOfficer.
EndorsementProcedure
1. ContactthePECSExecutiveOfficerorPECS‐SCmemberregardingendorsement.
2. SendformalrequestforendorsementtoPECS‐SCChairorPECSExecutiveOfficer
3. Uponreceivingtherequest,thePECS‐SCChairorPECSExecutiveOfficerwilla)informthe
PECS‐SCoftherequest,b)informthePECS‐IPOoftherequest,andc)facilitateadecision
abouttherequestbythePECS‐SC
4. OnceadecisionismadebythePECS‐SC,thePECSExecutiveOfficerwillinformtheexternal
projectandthePECS‐IPOoftheresult
Endorsementcriteria
ThegeneralcriteriaforendorsementofanewPECSworkinggroupare:
 Scientificexcellence
 ContributetothecontentanddirectionofPECS,features,goals,aimsandvisionsofPECS
 Explicitdescriptionofinterdisciplinarymethodstobeused
 RelevanceofcasestobeusedinrelationtothePECSstrategyandthedegreetowhichthe
casescomplementothercasesinthePECSportfolio
 Willingnessandadherencetosharedataintransparentway
16 Limpopo biosphere reserves Stewardship CBNRM, Land degradation Subtropical Thicket Restoration Project (STRP) IWRM Compliance & sustainability Great Limpopo TFCA: PPPSE land rights Strategic partnership to land reform in Limpopo Private protected areas as SES Restoring natural capital & developing markets Land use impacts on water security Ntl & Oliphants Graham & many others at UKZN, Rebecka, Line, Regina, EZEMVELO James Gambiza
Gambiza, Powell, Charlie T.Potts Cowling, Christo Marais, DEA et al Sharon Tally Marja, Steve, Kees & Harry
Ben, Marja, Nerhene, Lubabalo, Angelique Graeme, John, Marja Esler, Le Maitre, DeWit, Blignaut, Milton, WRC Jeanne, Paul, Belinda Transdisciplinary Impact Private wildlife products on farm dwellers EC/KZN Implementation & water security in water management SANPAD & GCSSRP Communities of practice for stewardship in the Garden Route Adaptation, vulnerability, climate change IDRC Various Drakensberg (KZN) projects Mainstreaming ProEcoServ Cross‐scale links Eden DM Oonsie, Belinda, Luthando, Maria, Marja, Maike, Vanessa Belinda, Ilse, Nadia, Patrick, Jeanne, Richard… Belinda, Luthando, Jeanne, Patrick, Nadia, Ilse Marja, Shirley, Nomalanga, Lungisile, Dhoya, Femke, Harry Tally, Dirk, Christo, Netherlands Ireland & Georgina Christo, Dirk, Bianca, NM Municipality, WESSA George, Sheona Shackleton
Governance Eastern Cape SIDA project Who is involved? Traps & Transformations Regime shifts On‐going case/activity ES, HWB, Poverty APPENDIXIII–Someon‐goingsocial‐ecologicalandecosystemservice
relatedresearchprojectsinthesouthernAfricanregion
X
X
X
X X
X ½ X X X ½ X X X X X
X
X
X X X X X
X
Attempt failed X ½
X X X X
X
X X X
X X X X X X
X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
X ½
X
X X X ½ X X X X X X X X X X X X X ½ 17 

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