Human decision making

Synthesis of micro-scale human decision making to mitigate risks to ecosystem services

meeting at sDiv: 29.06.-03.07.2015

Maja Schlüter (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden)
Marco Janssen (Arizona State University, USA)

Project summary:
The provision of the ecosystem services (ESS) that underpin human well-being is largely determined by the interplay of human decisions, resulting human behavior, and the environment from the local to the landscape scale. Sustainable and resilient ESS provision is thus a question of appropriate rules and norms that shape the behavior of people. The success of these rules and norms in achieving sustainable ESS provision, however, depends on how determinants of human decision making and social and institutional settings, as well as resulting resource use patterns and impacts on ecosystem functioning and services, interact. Yet the role of micro-scale decision making in a particular social-ecological context (defined by the prevalent biophysical economic and institutional settings, as well as social context) is only poorly understood.

This research will analyze and synthesize the interplay of selected ecological, social, and cognitive factors and processes in shaping human decision making in natural resource management and their implications for the provisioning of ESS using social-ecological modeling. The aim is to:

-  synthesize different models of human decision making to identify factors such as preferences, social norms, mental models, or incentives that are most relevant for explaining human decision making in different contexts;

-  assess their consequences for ESS; and

-  develop an integrative framework of human decision making in natural resource use for analysis of ESS provision in social-ecological systems.

The research results will support the development of interventions and management strategies to minimize potentially negative impacts of human behavior on ESS.

Andres Baeza-Castro (University of Maryland); Gunnar Dreßler (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ); Karin Frank (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ); Jürgen Groeneveld (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ); Wander Jager (University of Groningen); Marco Janssen (Arizona State University); Ryan McAllister (CSIRO); Birgit Müller (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ); Kirill Orach (Stockholm University); Maja Schlüter (Stockholm University); Nina Schwarz (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ); Nanda Wijermans (Stockholm University)

Meeting report


Schlüter, Maja et al. (2017) A framework for mapping and comparing behavioural theories in models
of social-ecological systems. Ecological Economics. see here

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