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Towards middle-range theories of the co-evolutionary dynamics of multi-level social-ecological systems

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "MUSES" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 10691

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Sweden [SE]
 Total cost 1˙969˙599 €
 EC max contribution 1˙969˙599 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-CoG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-02-01   to  2022-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    STOCKHOLMS UNIVERSITET SE (STOCKHOLM) coordinator 1˙969˙599.00


 Project objective

Humans have the capacity to change the biosphere from local to global scales while at the same time fundamentally depending on a functioning biosphere for their well-being. Moreover human societies are increasingly affected by global change and adapting to it in multiple ways. These interdependencies give rise to non-linear, cross-scale dynamics that pose significant challenges for analysis and governance of social-ecological systems (SES). In view of the need for societal transformations towards sustainability is the identification of mechanisms of change in SES an urgent and cutting-edge research frontier. This project aims to develop new methodologies and middle-range theories of the dynamics of SES. It will take the nature of SES as complex adaptive systems into account by developing a mechanism-based understanding of change in SES as it arises from micro-level interactions within complex networks of actors and ecosystems. Particular emphasis will be put on emergent and top-down cross-scale interactions. To this end we will develop dynamic multi-level models using agent-based and mathematical modeling approaches. Model development will be based on a typology of cross-scale interactions, theories from the natural and social sciences and empirical evidence from marine and terrestrial SES. We will combine stylized with empirically-based models and cross-case comparison to develop a typology of social-ecological configurations of the long-term persistence of SES and their capacity to change. Knowledge integration across disciplines and the development of integrative frameworks and approaches will be supported by procedures to bridge different ontological and epistemological foundations. The project will advance sustainability science by providing new methods for modeling multi-level SES and cross-scale interactions, and approaches to identify and include critical social-ecological interactions, particularly human adaptive responses, into models of SES.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 María Mancilla García, Tilman Hertz, Maja Schlüter, Rika Preiser, Minka Woermann
Adopting process-relational perspectives to tackle the challenges of social-ecological systems research
published pages: , ISSN: 1708-3087, DOI: 10.5751/es-11425-250129
Ecology and Society 25/1 2020-04-24
2020 Tilman Hertz, Maria Mancilla Garcia, Maja Schlüter
From nouns to verbs: How process ontologies enhance our understanding of social‐ecological systems understood as complex adaptive systems
published pages: , ISSN: 2575-8314, DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10079
People and Nature 2020-04-15
2020 Romina Martin, Maja Schlüter, Thorsten Blenckner
The importance of transient social dynamics for restoring ecosystems beyond ecological tipping points
published pages: 2717-2722, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1817154117
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117/5 2020-04-15
2019 Tilman Hertz, María Mancilla García
The event: a process ontological concept to understand emergent phenomena
published pages: , ISSN: 2385-1945, DOI:
Philosophy Kitchen 2020-04-15
2020 Emilie Lindkvist, Nanda Wijermans, Tim M. Daw, Blanca Gonzalez-Mon, Alfredo Giron-Nava, Andrew F. Johnson, Ingrid van Putten, Xavier Basurto, Maja Schlüter
Navigating Complexities: Agent-Based Modeling to Support Research, Governance, and Management in Small-Scale Fisheries
published pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2296-7745, DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00733
Frontiers in Marine Science 6 2020-04-15
2020 Sonja Radosavljevic, L. Jamila Haider, Steven J. Lade, Maja Schlüter
Effective alleviation of rural poverty depends on the interplay between productivity, nutrients, water and soil quality
published pages: 106494, ISSN: 0921-8009, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106494
Ecological Economics 169 2020-04-15
2019 Maja Schlüter, Kirill Orach, Emilie Lindkvist, Romina Martin, Nanda Wijermans, Örjan Bodin, Wiebren J. Boonstra
Toward a methodology for explaining and theorizing about social-ecological phenomena
published pages: 44-53, ISSN: 1877-3435, DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2019.06.011
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 39 2019-10-04
2019 María Mancilla García, Tilman Hertz, Maja Schlüter
Towards a process epistemology for the analysis of social-ecological systems
published pages: , ISSN: 0963-2719, DOI:
Environmental Values 2019-10-04
2019 A.K. Ringsmuth, S.J. Lade, M. Schlüter
Cross-scale cooperation enables sustainable use of a common-pool resource
published pages: , ISSN: 0962-8452, DOI:
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2019-10-04
2019 Blanca González-Mon, Örjan Bodin, Beatrice Crona, Mateja Nenadovic, Xavier Basurto
Small-scale fish buyers\' trade networks reveal diverse actor types and differential adaptive capacities
published pages: 106338, ISSN: 0921-8009, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.05.018
Ecological Economics 164 2019-10-04
2019 Maja Schlüter, Birgit Müller, Karin Frank
The potential of models and modeling for social-ecological systems research: the reference frame ModSES
published pages: , ISSN: 1708-3087, DOI: 10.5751/es-10716-240131
Ecology and Society 24/1 2019-10-04
2019 Laura G. Elsler, Sarah E. Drohan, Maja Schlüter, James R. Watson, Simon A. Levin
Local, Global, Multi-Level: Market Structure and Multi-Species Fishery Dynamics
published pages: 185-195, ISSN: 0921-8009, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.09.008
Ecological Economics 156 2019-10-04
2019 Lippe, Melvin; Bithell, Michael; Gotts, Nick; Natalini, Davide; Barbrook-Johnson, Peter; Giupponi, Carlo; Hallier, Mareen; Hofstede, Gert Jan; Le Page, Christophe; Matthews, Robin B; Schlüter, Maja; Smith, Peter; Teglio, Andrea; Thellmann, Kevin
Using agent-based modelling to simulate social-ecological systems across scales
published pages: , ISSN: 1384-6175, DOI: 10.17863/CAM.36346
GeoInformatica 1 2019-09-26
2018 P. Meyfroidt, R. Roy Chowdhury, A. de Bremond, E.C. Ellis, K.-H. Erb, T. Filatova, R.D. Garrett, J.M. Grove, A. Heinimann, T. Kuemmerle, C.A. Kull, E.F. Lambin, Y. Landon, Y. le Polain de Waroux, P. Messerli, D. Müller, J.Ø. Nielsen, G.D. Peterson, V. Rodriguez García, M. Schlüter, B.L. Turner, P.H. Verburg
Middle-range theories of land system change
published pages: 52-67, ISSN: 0959-3780, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.08.006
Global Environmental Change 53 2019-04-21

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