Prof Garry Peterson

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Garry Peterson is Professor in Environmental Sciences with key focus on resilience in social-ecological systems.

While people depend upon the benefits they receive from nature, our actions are undercutting the ability of nature to produce these benefits.

Dr. Peterson's research addresses this problem by working to improve people's ability to ensure a reliable supply of the ecosystem services that support human well-being. He uses complex systems theory, spatial analysis, and the synthesis of social and ecological data, to develop theory and practical understanding that people can use to better manage the ecosystems they live within.

His specific research areas are:
1) understanding of how abrupt changes can occur in social- ecological systems

2) interactions among ecosystem services over time and across space

3) connecting quantitative models and narrative based scenario planning

Dr. Peterson has a degree in Systems Design Engineering for the University of Waterloo, Canada and received a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1999. Following post-doctoral positions at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara and the Centre for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, he has been an assistant professor jointly appointed in the Department of Geography and the McGill School of the Environment at McGill University in Canada since 2003, where he held a Canada Research Chair.

He has taught adaptive management, environmental modelling, and environmental research courses. He has been at the Stockholm Resilience Centre since summer 2008. He also has a 20% position in Physical Geography at Stockholm University.

He is a board member of the Resilience Alliance, subject editor for Ecology and Society, and was a coordinating lead author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. In 2008 he received the Ecological society of America's Sustainability Science. He has authored or co- authored over 30 scientific articles and 25 book chapters.

Centre publications

All publications


Social-ecological dynamics of ecosystem services in the Norrström basin
01/01/2013 - 31/12/2015
Syftet med projektet är att undersöka vilka processer och mekanismer som bidrar till en tillförlitlig produktion av ekosystemtjänster i social-ekologiska system (dvs. länkade komplexa system av människor och natur). Vi kommer att bedöma mön...

Participatory Modelling Frameworks to Understand Wellbeing Trade-offs in Coastal Ecosystem Services
01/11/2010 - 30/06/2012
This project is designed to develop a framework and associated tools to explicitly identify trade-offs between ecosystem services and between the wellbeing of different stakeholders resulting from policy and development scenarios and environmental change. We will achieve this by ...

Assessing global patterns of ecological regime shifts
01/06/2010 - 01/06/2012
The planned and unintended consequences of human action are altering the structure and functioning of the earth?s ecosystems. While human action often produces gradual, predictable ecological change, some changes in ecosystems and their services are abrupt, substantial and diffic...

Modeling the dynamics of interacting ecosystem services in human dominated landscapes
01/01/2009 - 31/12/2011
Humanity relies upon ecosystem services, however, the human modification of ecosystems to increase the supply of food and fiber has resulted in the decline of many other ecosystem services. Now individuals, groups and governments are attempting to correct this problem by includin...

Collaborating with

Folke, Carl

Professor Carl Folke is Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, one of the collaborating partners of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

He took on those p...


Last updated on 2017-16-06 at 11:14