Social-Ecological Systems Lab: Building science for sustainability in a changing world

Global Change · Resilience · Natural capital · Ecosystem services · Functional diversity · Adaptive governance · Environmental justice

The Laboratory

We are a research group that focuses on exploring the structure, functioning and dynamics of social-ecological systems (humans in nature) from a systemic and transdiciplinary approach, to tackle complex issues related to sustainability.

The scope of our research covers a wide range of topics in the frontiers among nature, culture and society. Our work can be framed in what has been called "Sustainability Science". From integrative disciplines such as Ecological Economics, Political Ecology, Systems Ecology, and Conservation Ecology, we aim to develop new strategies and conceptual frameworks that contribute to the transition toward sustainability.

In doing so, we use various methodological tools such as natural capital and ecosystem services evaluation, characterization of functional diversity, assessment and management of social-ecological resilience, scenario analysis (ecofutures), or participative territorial planning and management, among others.

Our research is intended to bring down barriers and tend bridges between social and biophysical sciences, as well as between researchers and decision-makers, to build adaptive capacities in the face of current global change.

The Mediterranean ecoregion and Latin America are the geographical areas where we currently concentrate most of our efforts.

Bulletin board


New paper published in Ecology and Society comparing 23 case studies of participatory future scenario planning.


New paper published in Oecologia as "Highlighted Student Research" focusing on the effects of land use change on taxonomic and functional diversity.


New paper published in Journal of Arid Environments on the willingness to give up time as a non-monetary method to evaluate ecosystem services


Evaluating ecosystem services applied to fisheries management


Published an article in BioScience about applying the social-ecological approach to protected areas

Last News

29|07|2015Federica Ravera participated in the IPBES workshops organized in Tokyo (Japan) by the UNESCO

29|07|2015Federica Ravera organized a course on “Sustainability Science” in Loja (Ecuador)

26|03|2015The Spanish Inventory of Traditional Knowledge related to Biodiversity, a work in which members of the Social-ecological Systems Lab have participated, has been presented

26|03|2015Violeta Hevia PhD candidate at the Social-ecological systems lab is currently a visiting scholar at the Department of Botany, Faculty of Sciences, University of South Bohemia

25|02|2015We begin the EU funded project ESMERALDA - Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking

25|02|2015The Social-ecological systems laboratory contributes in the Review of Targets for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), coordinated by ICSU and ISSC

25|02|2015Two new grant holders have joined the laboratory for the academic year 2014-2015.

25|02|2015The Brazilian associate professor at the Federal University of Santa Maria will remain in the Socioecosistemas laboratory until November

21|10|2014The SES Lab collaborates in the organization of the international workshop on “Power Relations and Ecosystem Services (PORES)”, held in October 23rd and 24th in the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville

08|09|2014Marina García-Llorente, Cristina Quintas-Soriano and Violeta Hevia assisted to the NRG BESS Conference 2014: Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Sustainability.

25|06|2014Irene Iniesta-Arandia, Berta Martín–López, Elisa Oteros-Rozas and Federica Ravera assisted to the International Conference Resilience and Development: mobilizing for trasformation, which took place in Montpellier, France, May 4-8, 2014.

25|06|2014Carlos Montes and José A. González have participated in a Seminar on Environment and Climate Change organized by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID) in Antigua, Guatemala (6-7 May)

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