Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Knowledge Production and Learning for Sustainable Landscapes: Seven Steps Using Social-Ecological Systems as Laboratories

Angelstam, Per; Elbakidze, Marine; Axelsson, Robert; Dixelius, Malcolm; Törnblom, Johan


There are multiple challenges regarding use and governance of landscapes' goods, functions and intangible values for ecosystem health and human well-being. One group of challenges is to measure and assess principal sustainability dimensions through performance targets, so stakeholders have transparent information about states and trends. Another group is to develop adaptive governance at multiple levels, and management of larger geographical areas across scales. Addressing these challenges, we present a framework for transdisciplinary research using multiple landscapes as place-based case studies that integrates multiple research disciplines and non-academic actors: (1) identify a suite of landscapes, and for each (2) review landscape history, (3) map stakeholders, use and non-use values, products and land use, (4) analyze institutions, policies and the system of governance, (5) measure ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainability, (6) assess sustainability dimensions and governance, and finally (7) make comparisons and synthesize. Collaboration, communication and dissemination are additional core features. We discuss barriers bridges and bridges for applying this approach.


Ecosystem services; Sustainability science; Social learning; Governance; Case study; Transdisciplinary research

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2013, Volume: 42, number: 2, pages: 116-128
Publisher: SPRINGER