The Social-Ecological Research Lab, Idaho State University

The current social-ecological crises requires of new interdisciplinary and holistic conceptual approaches. Recognizing that biodiversity conservation is about species and ecosystems as much as societies suggests an interesting change in the way we approach human-environment interactions. Therefore, there is a real challenge for recognizing that societies are highly interconnected with the biophysical life-support system, thus conforming social-ecological systems or human-nature systems. We study the dynamics of social-ecological systems focuses on understanding the relationships existing between nature and society, analyzing either the contributions made by biodiversity to human wellbeing (i.e., ecosystem services) or the human actions that, through institutions, affect the ecosystems integrity. Under the social-ecological system framework, we have recognized that human wellbeing depends partly upon the ecosystems, as well as, the ecosystem conservation depends on human behavior and governance processes.

Our mission is to (1) develop an understanding of human-nature interactions for conservation management and planning, and the importance of assessing the multidimensional nature of ecosystem services as an approach to work toward sustainability; (2) to open spaces for interdisciplinary discussions and collaborative learning in order to develop in students a reflexive thinking, and (3) mentor and train future scientists and resource managers.