Collaborating in social-ecological systems research: lessons from PECS and beyond

The concept of social-ecological systems emerged in the last 20+ years as a useful lens to study the intricate connections between nature and human systems. Since then, the concept has exploded, starting with 5 publications in 1999 and increasing to over 2100 in 2016. Next to the publications, several networks, including the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society, which I will introduce in some detail, have emerged. The goal of PECS is to generate the scientific and policy-relevant knowledge of social-ecological dynamics. The programme does so by coordinating a diverse body of independently funded research projects across the world. PECS research employs a range of transdisciplinary approaches and methods, with comparative, place-based research that is international in scope at the core. In this talk I will first introduce PECS more broadly as a collaborative platform, and then I will talk about some of the challenges of working across collaborative platforms, going beyond PECS (incl. IPBES, GEOBON, etc.). I will conclude with some emerging lessons and insights.