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      Global targets that reveal the social–ecological interdependencies of sustainable development

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      Nature Ecology & Evolution
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Most cited references56

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          Science for managing ecosystem services: Beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

          The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) introduced a new framework for analyzing social-ecological systems that has had wide influence in the policy and scientific communities. Studies after the MA are taking up new challenges in the basic science needed to assess, project, and manage flows of ecosystem services and effects on human well-being. Yet, our ability to draw general conclusions remains limited by focus on discipline-bound sectors of the full social-ecological system. At the same time, some polices and practices intended to improve ecosystem services and human well-being are based on untested assumptions and sparse information. The people who are affected and those who provide resources are increasingly asking for evidence that interventions improve ecosystem services and human well-being. New research is needed that considers the full ensemble of processes and feedbacks, for a range of biophysical and social systems, to better understand and manage the dynamics of the relationship between humans and the ecosystems on which they rely. Such research will expand the capacity to address fundamental questions about complex social-ecological systems while evaluating assumptions of policies and practices intended to advance human well-being through improved ecosystem services.
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            Policy: Map the interactions between Sustainable Development Goals.

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              Leverage points for sustainability transformation.

              Despite substantial focus on sustainability issues in both science and politics, humanity remains on largely unsustainable development trajectories. Partly, this is due to the failure of sustainability science to engage with the root causes of unsustainability. Drawing on ideas by Donella Meadows, we argue that many sustainability interventions target highly tangible, but essentially weak, leverage points (i.e. using interventions that are easy, but have limited potential for transformational change). Thus, there is an urgent need to focus on less obvious but potentially far more powerful areas of intervention. We propose a research agenda inspired by systems thinking that focuses on transformational 'sustainability interventions', centred on three realms of leverage: reconnecting people to nature, restructuring institutions and rethinking how knowledge is created and used in pursuit of sustainability. The notion of leverage points has the potential to act as a boundary object for genuinely transformational sustainability science.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Ecology & Evolution
                Nat Ecol Evol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                2397-334X
                July 20 2020
                Article
                10.1038/s41559-020-1230-6
                32690904
                ebb3be0c-d523-4b5e-9e18-5422fcd71c56
                © 2020

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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