The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society conference, held between the 3rd and 5th November 2015, gathered scientists from various disciplines, from within and beyond the PECS network, who shared cutting-edge research insights on social-ecological dynamics in the Anthropocene.

SRU members Christo Fabricius and Dirk Roux were part of various sessions:

Contributed session: Reconnecting people and ecosystems in fragmented social-ecological landscapes

  • Walking with stakeholders through catchments- Dirk Roux
  • Stakeholders and participatory mapping- Christo Fabricius

Contributed session: Multi-scale adaptations to climate change and social-ecological sustainability in coastal areas

  • Frameworks, feedbacks and foresight: grappling with the wicked problem of adaptations to global change in coastlines- Christo Fabricius
  • Facilitated Discussion- Nadia Sitas, Christo Fabricius

Innovative Session: The value of landscape stewardship for managing social-ecological systems -Christo Fabricius

Thematic Session: Cross-scale connection and feedbacks in social-ecological systems 2

  • Cross-scale connections for systemic conservation governance: Enabling feedbacks from global targets to local action and back- Dirk Roux


The practicalities of engaging with society in doing social-ecological systems research

Before the first ever Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society PECS conference (www.pecs2015.org) this past November in Stellenbosch, SAPECS organised a pre-conference learning event for early career social-ecological systems researchers; coordinated and facilitated by Christo Fabricius from Nelson Mandela University. The topic of the event was “Participatory Action Research in Social-Ecological Systems”, and the focus was particularly on discussing the principles and practice of doing this research.

The event was attended by 30 participants from nine countries representing 18 institutions. Participants, mostly Masters and PhD students with a smattering of post-docs came from a healthy mix of disciplinary backgrounds. The programme began late afternoon on Sunday the 1st with a keynote by Christo Fabricius on the role of a dialogue perspective in participatory research, emphasizing the role of taking time to think and listening with fascination. This was followed by group discussions. We ended the day with mingling with a snack and wine to allow space for interactions between participants and with facilitators.

The event created space for lively discussions and possibilities to link up with other existing initiatives. The feedback received from participants was extremely positive, with many commenting on the value of pre-conference get-togethers to form new and lasting connections.

For some reflections on the event, see this blog or see the videos Karen & Jess also embedded in the blog.