The Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), is a 10-year Future Earth project that is also jointly sponsored by ICSU and UNESCO. PECS aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social–ecological systems, the services they generate, and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty.
PECS research will be explicitly transdisciplinary and intersectoral, and will thereby break down barriers that have impeded understanding of social-ecological transformations. PECS aims to understand interactions across scales, such as fast and slow drivers of social and ecological change, thresholds, traps and time lags, in order to identify appropriate operational scales. A comparative, place-based approach, international in scope, is at the core of PECS research.
The principal approach of PECS research is comparisons of place-based, long-term social-ecological case studies. PECS will also develop and facilitate a set of dynamic, interdisciplinary working groups that focus on different cross-cutting topics. PECS will provide the mechanisms for a deep intellectual exchange among these diverse projects, case-studies and working groups on social–ecological systems. You can read more about these under "Projects" and "Working groups".
Differences in the methods used is sometimes a barrier to comparative analyses of social–ecological research, yet diverse social–ecological systems often require different methods. A key part of the capacity-building strategy for PECS will be training workshops on core methods for place-based, long- term social-ecological research. Examples of such methods include qualitative analysis of narratives, various kinds of models, and scenario planning and resilience thinking. These workshops will address the variability in methods and standardize methods when this is appropriate.
PECS will also sponsor broader workshops to develop cross-cutting themes that contribute to a wide range of research on social–ecological systems. Because PECS is envisioned as a bottom-up, researcher-driven platform, diverse input and leadership will be encouraged as PECS develops.
Please contact Albert Norström for more information.