Developing Transdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability Challenges: The Need to Model Socio-Environmental Systems in the Longue Durée


Type
Article
Change log
Authors
Silva, F 
Coward, F 
Davies, K 
Elliott, S 
Jenkins, E 
Abstract

jats:pHuman beings are an active component of every terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. Although our local impact on the evolution of these ecosystems has been undeniable and extensively documented, it remains unclear precisely how our activities are altering them, in part because ecosystems are dynamic systems structured by complex, non-linear feedback processes and cascading effects. We argue that it is only by studying human–environment interactions over timescales that greatly exceed the lifespan of any individual human (i.e., the deep past or longue durée), we can hope to fully understand such processes and their implications. In this article, we identify some of the key challenges faced in integrating long-term datasets with those of other areas of sustainability science, and suggest some useful ways forward. Specifically, we (a) highlight the potential of the historical sciences for sustainability science, (b) stress the need to integrate theoretical frameworks wherein humans are seen as inherently entangled with the environment, and (c) propose formal computational modelling as the ideal platform to overcome the challenges of transdisciplinary work across large, and multiple, geographical and temporal scales. Our goal is to provide a manifesto for an integrated scientific approach to the study of socio-ecological systems over the long term.</jats:p>

Description
Keywords
transdisciplinarity, archaeology, paleoecology, history, prehistory, modelling, longue duree
Journal Title
Sustainability (Switzerland)
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
2071-1050
2071-1050
Volume Title
Publisher
MDPI AG