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Sustainability Research Unit George Campus

05/12/2014

During October 2014 the Sustainability Research Unit at NMMU’s George Campus had the pleasure of hosting world renowned sustainability scientist, Prof Carl Folke, Founder and Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and the Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. 

Prof Carl Folke of Stockholm University and Prof Dirk Roux, SANParks scientist and SRU Research Associate, enjoying one of the Garden Route’s magical forests at Hoekwil near Wilderness. Prof Folke was recently a Visiting Scientist in the Sustainability Research Unit located at the NMMU George Campus

A specialist in transdisciplinary collaboration between natural and social scientists, he is famous for his work on ecosystem services, the social and economic dimension of ecosystem management, and proactive measures to manage resilience.   Prof Folke’s leading edge work on social-ecological resilience has been cited more than 65 000 times.

After spending several days visiting study sites and contemplating the future of our Planet and its people with SRU members, Proff Christo Fabricius and Dirk Roux;  Prof Folke led a discussion with SRU students about ‘Reconnecting Development to the Biosphere' .

The central issue was how to transform human well-being through the management and restoration of functional social-ecological systems in an era where natural resources are in high demand and unevenly distributed.  Discussions centred around the possibilities and opportunities in the Garden Route to promote a more sustainable future, the transformative changes that are required, and the role of NMMU and the SRU in particular in stimulating such transformation. What was evident is that the SRU and its students are doing highly relevant research in this field. Reconnecting society to the biosphere will however take time and perseverance; transformation does not occur overnight.

It was an honour to host Prof Folke, whose life-long work has had a large influence in shaping the direction of the SRU and its students. The SRU will continue the relationship with him and other influential scientist of his calibre.