• Record: found
  • Abstract: found
  • Article: not found

Sustainability. Systems integration for global sustainability.

Read this article at

      There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


      Global sustainability challenges, from maintaining biodiversity to providing clean air and water, are closely interconnected yet often separately studied and managed. Systems integration—holistic approaches to integrating various components of coupled human and natural systems—is critical to understand socioeconomic and environmental interconnections and to create sustainability solutions. Recent advances include the development and quantification of integrated frameworks that incorporate ecosystem services, environmental footprints, planetary boundaries, human-nature nexuses, and telecoupling. Although systems integration has led to fundamental discoveries and practical applications, further efforts are needed to incorporate more human and natural components simultaneously, quantify spillover systems and feedbacks, integrate multiple spatial and temporal scales, develop new tools, and translate findings into policy and practice. Such efforts can help address important knowledge gaps, link seemingly unconnected challenges, and inform policy and management decisions.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 76

      • Record: found
      • Abstract: not found
      • Article: not found

      A safe operating space for humanity.

        • Record: found
        • Abstract: found
        • Article: not found

        Use of U.S. croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land-use change.

        Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.
          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          A general framework for analyzing sustainability of social-ecological systems.

           Elinor Ostrom (2009)
          A major problem worldwide is the potential loss of fisheries, forests, and water resources. Understanding of the processes that lead to improvements in or deterioration of natural resources is limited, because scientific disciplines use different concepts and languages to describe and explain complex social-ecological systems (SESs). Without a common framework to organize findings, isolated knowledge does not cumulate. Until recently, accepted theory has assumed that resource users will never self-organize to maintain their resources and that governments must impose solutions. Research in multiple disciplines, however, has found that some government policies accelerate resource destruction, whereas some resource users have invested their time and energy to achieve sustainability. A general framework is used to identify 10 subsystem variables that affect the likelihood of self-organization in efforts to achieve a sustainable SES.

            Author and article information

            [1 ] Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.
            [2 ] Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.
            [3 ] Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.
            [4 ] Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
            [5 ] World Bank, Washington, DC, USA.
            [6 ] Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.
            [7 ] Department of Integrative Biology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA.
            [8 ] School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
            [9 ] The Pacific Institute, Oakland, CA, USA.
            [10 ] Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.
            Science (New York, N.Y.)
            Feb 27 2015
            : 347
            : 6225
            Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.


            Comment on this article