2023-04-17 – 2023-04-21
In April, Dr. Tim Waring will lead the final meeting of a working group at the KLI (Konrad Lorenz Institute), an Independent Center of Advanced Studies in the Life and Sustainability Sciences in Klosterneuburg, Austria. The working group focuses on Evolutionary Theories for Social-Ecological Change, and includes social-ecological scientists and evolutionary researchers from across Europe.
The working group aims to connect the domains of evolutionary theory and social-ecological systems change to improve our collective ability to understand and influence the complex processes of change in social-ecological systems for the better. The group has been very successful. The first meeting was a wide ranging exploration of the intellectual and disciplinary challenges of bringing the two domains closer together. The second meeting refined that work and produced a research paper now in revision at Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B, which maps the conceptual connections between evolutionary theory and social-ecological systems (SES) change and builds motivation for using evolutionary theory in studying SES change.
The third and final meeting of the working group will scan the horizon for the next steps in developing an evolutionary and scientific approach to sustainability science, and the integration of evolutionary theory and social-ecological systems change. The group will meet with KLI fellows, and host a colloquium with researchers at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, or ‘BOKU‘ on evolutionary approaches to social-ecological systems change and environmental sustainability.
And, the team is already developing a set of follow-on projects focused on specific applications of evolutionary methods and theory for understanding social-ecological systems change. These include a mathematical and simulation model of the classic social-ecological systems problem of ‘poverty traps‘ rebuilt to include cultural evolutionary mechanisms for added realism. Overall, this international collaborative group has paved the way for cross-disciplinary research on sustainability, social-ecological systems, and evolutionary processes, and accelerated the emergence of evolutionary research in sustainability.