Prof Carl Folke

Phone: + 46 8 673 95 00


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 positions in early 2007. Carl is currently on leave from his Chair in Natural Resource Management at the Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, a position he held since 1997 where he is still active as supervisor.

He served as Deputy Director of the Beijer Institute 1991-1996 and Director of Stockholm University's Center for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (CTM) 1999-2006. He is among the founders of the Resilience Alliance and serves on the Executive Committee. He has been involved in the development of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) and was engaged in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

Carl has extensive experience in transdisciplinary collaboration between natural and social scientists, and has worked with ecosystem dynamics and services as well as the social and economic dimension of ecosystem management and proactive measures to manage resilience.

The work of his research group in Stockholm emphasizes the role that living systems at different scales play in social and economic development and how to govern and manage for resilience in integrated social-ecological systems. In 1995 he received the Pew Scholar Award in Conservation and the Environment and in 2004 the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America.

He has co-authored and edited 10 and written over 200 scientific papers, including 15 in Science and Nature. Carl shares the position as Editor in Chief of Ecology and Society with Lance Gunderson, since January 2002 and serves on the editorial board of fifteen international journals.

Carl is elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 2002 and serves on its Environmental Research Committee. He is currently on the Board of the Stockholm Environment Institute, the Scientific Advisory Board of the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS), Scientific Advisory Board of the STEPS Centre, UK, the Steering Committee of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Leeds University/London School of Economics, the Scientific Committee of the Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), ICSU and of the Volvo Environment Prize.

He serves as Associate Faculty of the Earth System Governance Project, and on the Advisory Board to the research group Innovation in Governance, Centre for Technology & Society (ZTG), Technische Universität Berlin, and to the International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS-Net).

He has among other things served as Secretary of ISEE for about 5 years, as adviser to the Swedish Government and collaborated with several UN organizations on issues like biodiversity, ecosystem services, freshwater management, and sustainable cities.

He has also served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), Santa Barbara, California, the Scientific Committee of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and boards and committees of research councils and various organizations in Sweden.

Carl has organized several major international conferences and workshops; he is in charge of the Stockholm Seminar: Frontiers in Sustainability Science and Policy; he has given numerous invited speaker presentations world wide; numerous public lectures, policy seminars and interviews in media. His research has been widely reported in Swedish and international media.

Centre publications

Other publications


Advancing Fundamental Knowledge of Natural Capital, Resilience and Biosphere Stewardship
01/01/2014 - 31/12/2018

We apply for a research and scientific leadership program in sustainability science, joint between Stanford University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, in support of leading young scholars operating at the knowledge frontiers on management and governa...

Seabirds in a dynamic ecosystem
01/01/2009 - 31/12/2011
Seabird studies are useful for understanding the dynamic interactions between commercial fisheries, fish stocks and natural predators, since seabirds often are top predators sharing a resource base with the fisheries. Changes in the fish stocks may have effects on all life stages...

Rethinking agricultural land abandonment to create socially responsive and biodiverse landscapes
01/01/2009 - 31/12/2011
The abandonment of agricultural landscapes is an increasing trend in western nations. The implications for biodiversity are well documented as market forces, environmental degradation and aging populations combine to depopulate marginalized areas. In this project we consider the ...

Resilience and Sustainable Development: Integrated research on social-ecological systems
01/01/2005 - 31/12/2009
Recent research have generated new insights in understanding complex social-ecological systems and the significance of resilience (capacity to absorb disturbance and continue to develop) for an ecologically sustainable societal development. The four research institutes behind the...

Program on Ecosystem Change and Society

Human wellbeing and the Earth system on which it depends are in transition. Even as human wellbeing and its distribution among peoples and places are changing, for the first time in our history as a species we have clear evidence of our own role in transforming the planet. Glo...

Collaborating with

Tengö, Maria
Maria Tengö is a researcher at Stockholm Resilience Centre and theme leader of Adaptive Governance theme. She has a PhD in Natural Research Management (Systems Ecology), Stockholm University and did a post doc at Geography Department at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.


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