Monthly Archives: July 2013

Extended Deadline for Abstract Submission to GLP OSM 2014

2014 GLOBAL LAND PROJECT OPEN SCIENCE MEETING

Land transformations: between global challenges and local realities

March 19 – 21, 2014

Berlin, Germany

http://www.glp-osm2014.org

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – Extended deadline: 31 July 2013

The 2014 Global Land Project Open Science Meeting program will be a combination of plenary sessions involving international figureheads and experts in the field, followed by parallel sessions covering a wide range of topics within the broad themes of the conference. In addition, poster sessions will take place during lunchtimes and early evenings.

We invite you to submit abstracts for presentations and posters for this leading global conference in Land Science. Your contribution should reference one of the conference sessions. The list of sessions is available on: http://www.glp-osm2014.org/conference_sessions.php. In case you do not identify any appropriate session, you may submit to the ‘open session’ that will be structured by the scientific committee.

Abstracts are welcomed in three different formats:

Oral Presentation:

12 minutes + 3 minutes for Q&A

Under conference session category Research Presentation Session

Flash Talk Presentation:

5 minutes based on 3 slides

Under session categories Round-table Discussion Session and Open Session

Poster:
Poster exhibition

Under conference session category Research Presentation Session

Please note that we can only accommodate one oral presentation (plus one flash talk) per attendant. The number of poster presentations is not limited.

More information about the Conference Sessions and Abstract Submissions go to the conference website: http://www.glp-osm2014.org/

Online registration for the conference will open in July 2013.

Complexity in land-livelihood systems

China_FarmerRural livelihoods are inextricably linked to sustainable land-use, and vice versa.

This message seems to be popping-up continuously and forcefully in much of the research articles I’ve been reading lately. And I agree – certainly land-use lies at the heart of the sustainability question, since it is a means of food and income production as well as a main source of impacts to ecosystems. Something I read far less often (still looking if you have suggestions!) is a holistic framework for understanding the complex causes and consequences of land-use and livelihood changes.

The factors driving rural household land-use and livelihood decisions are incredibly complex –  originating and acting both locally and globally, and often creating both rapid and slow changes in incentives and constraints. For example, see this post about both fast and gradual changes occurring in Chinese food systems. Researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers alike are thus left with huge gaps in understanding of how land-use and livelihood changes come about, and you can forget about accurately predicting such changes and how they might influence environmental and/or livelihood sustainability.

Thinking about this challenge led me back to some of my earlier work in complex system science. In particular, I revisited one of my earlier papers about ‘induced coupling‘ – an idea that faster and slower processes sometimes become ‘coupled’ and lead to dramatic systemic changes. So I tried my hand at throwing together a simple version of what this might look like for a coupled land-livelihood system.HCSM_LLS

The red, downward arrows represent ‘entrainment’, or ‘slaving’, of the dynamics of lower-level variables by higher-level variables. The green, upward arrows represent processes of ‘self-organization’, or ‘revolt’, in which the dynamics of lower-level variables influence those of higher-level variables. Dashed arrows represent processes that link variables operating at the same time scales. If you would like to know more about this type of framework, referred to as hierarchical complex systems modeling, I will direct you to work by my friends and colleagues Brad Werner and Dylan McNamara (2007).

Now, the recognition that processes, or ‘drivers’, across multiple scales influence land-use and livelihood decisions is nothing new. However, rarely are temporal scales used as the organizing framework. This viewpoint has the potential to explain why certain drivers have different influences in different contexts due to the relative frequencies of interacting processes.

OK, great … so what? Beyond the potential to advance our fundamental understanding of the causes and consequences of livelihood and land-use changes, such a perspective could help craft policy interventions that address not only short-term needs of rural land-users, but also the effects of long-term challenges to sustainability and well-being.

As always, please feel free to yell at me on twitter @nickmags13 if you disagree, or if you prefer to disagree with me on a more regular basis don’t hesitate to follow this blog or subscribe to the RSS feed or email list. 😉