Two PhD positions at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Applications are due May 2nd. The positons are with a project Governance of ecosystem services under scenarios of change in southern and eastern Africa, funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). To address the question How may ecosystem assessments be best designed and applied for poverty alleviation?
One student will focus mainly on mapping and modelling of ecosystem services drawing on methodologies from the natural and systems sciences, while the other will focus primarily on governance of ecosystem services drawing more strongly on methodologies from the social sciences.
Both students will work on case studies in the Eastern Cape and/or Western Cape regions of South Africa , as well as in Madagascar, depending on their interests and skills. We envisage that the two students will work together closely to share experiences and insights, and advance novel social-ecological understanding of the case studies and methods for assessing and managing ecosystem services.
The students will need to spend at least 6 months/year in Stockholm the first two years and part of the year during the remaining period.
Position 1: Mapping ecosystem services and regime shifts in a poverty context
There are currently a limited range of approaches available to measure, quantify, assess and display data on ecosystem services. Many of these approaches are quite data intensive in their requirements and to date have not been applied in the management of African ecosystems and services.
This project aims to develop new methods for assessing multiple ecosystem services which can be applied in data poor situations. In particular, this project aims to understand how the “bundle” of ecosystem services associated with a particular social-ecological system may change under different future scenarios. We envisage paying particular attention to the potential for “regime shifts” — large, persistent changes in social-ecological systems and their trajectories of development (e.g., rangeland degradation, or the shift from subsistence to commercial farming).
Such shifts can have large impacts on ecosystem services and human well-being, and the data collected in this study will be incorporated into the developing global Regime Shifts Database.
The student will be supervised by Dr. Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs (Stockholm Resilience Centre,Sweden ), Dr. Belinda Reyers (CSIR,South Africa ) and Prof. Thomas Elmqvist (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden).
Position 2: Governing ecosystem services and regime shifts in a poverty context
How do bundles of ecosystem services co-vary with local livelihood strategies, ecological knowledge, and social organization? A combination of qualitative and quantitative social science methods and spatial tools such as participatory GIS will be used to identify and map how local ecosystem management, land use, and institutional structures across scales interact with and respond to the dynamics of multiple ecosystem services.
In particular, the project will focus on implications for amplifying or moderating the potential for so called regime shifts, i.e. large persistent changes in ecosystem services. The project will also assess barriers and bridges for improved governance of multiple ecosystem services at local and regional scales that allows for sustainable poverty alleviation in Southern Africa.
The student will be supervised by Dr. Maria Tengö and Prof. Thomas Elmqvist (Dept of Systems Ecology & Stockholm Resilience Centre).