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Working Group Presentation
Evolutionary Theories for Social-Ecological Change
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Abstract / topic description:
The KLI Working Group on Evolutionary Theory of Social Ecological Change explores the connections between sustainability and evolutionary theory. Our working group started from the premise that many fruitful connections between social-ecological systems research and evolutionary theory have yet to be articulated. Social-ecological systems (SES) research provides a range of approaches for understanding how the complex interactions between humans, social systems, and our environments work, and how we might aim them towards long-term health and resilience.  Formal evolutionary theory has been broadly and usefully applied as a dynamic theory of change of complex phenomena in biology and increasingly in the social sciences.  However, evolution and SES have not been well integrated.  We explored the potential connections between evolutionary theory and SES research. We provide a field guide for practical collaboration across different disciplines. We show how terminological tangles can stymie collaboration between researchers and develop a conceptual mapping to help avoid these tangles. We provide examples of how evolutionary theory might be incorporated into SES research and application. Finally, we propose a rich and broad horizon of possible integrations, studies, applications and research questions that can be addressed by integrating evolutionary theory and SES research. 
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