DISES Symposium

International Symposium on the Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems: Implications for Natural Resource Management in Asia
November 6, 2021
08:00– 17:00 US Eastern Daylight Time
Carolina Asia Center and Department of Geography
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Human and natural environmental systems are closely linked to each other via the impacts of that human actions on the environment, with the resulting changes in the environment having impacts (often not anticipated and unintended) that feedback to the social system. These feedbacks can amplify or dampen the initial impacts of the human activity and influence the sustainability of the socio-environmental systems. Therefore, traditional research that solely focuses on either social system impacts on the environment or environmental system changes on human social systems cannot provide a holistic understanding of the dynamics of integrated socio-environmental systems. A new paradigm of research that deals with the social and environmental systems as an integrated holistic system has emerged in recent decades. The new DISES program at the US National Science Foundation supports such research endeavors as a testimony to the importance of such innovative research.

Over 4.6 billion people or 60% of the human population live in Asia. There are more poor people in Asia than other continents, exerting the greatest influence on UN global sustainable development goals. Poor people are generally more dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods than others, such as on forests for food, fiber, and fuel; on water for irrigation and household consumption, and fish for food and income; and on minerals for income. Therefore, how to better manage these natural resources is of paramount importance both to improve the livelihoods of the poor and to conserve the environment, which are among essential goals in sustainable development. The aim of this symposium is to share cutting-edge thinking about and empirical evidence from ongoing research and to collectively reflect on the needs for future research on the dynamics of the integrated socio-environmental systems, including (1) institutional settings and their impacts on sustainable natural resource management, (2) mechanisms by which natural resource management influences poor people’s livelihoods, (3) feedbacks to the social system from the environmental system as a result of changes in ecosystem goods and services from natural resource management, and (4) changes in ecosystem goods and services as a result of natural resource management. Studies which focus on more than one of these dimensions are particularly welcome.

Please find the videos of the symposium presentations here.