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News from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
Over three days in June, 244 scholars from 23 countries and 37 states and Puerto Rico participated in the conference called Boundary Spanning: Advances in Socio-Environmental Systems Research international symposium in Annapolis, Maryland, to learn, share knowledge, and collaborate around socio-environmental research. The event's social media reached over 200,000 people with over 1 million impressions around the conversation of boundary spanning.
Look for our Boundary Spanning Special Issue coming next month featuring event highlights and interviews with thought leaders.

In the meantime, subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see the keynotes' and theme leaders' presentations.

Scholars seek to bridge disciplines for socio-environmental research at historic meet-up   

Research leaders, emerging scholars, and other key individuals involved in innovating research and processes for solving socio-environmental problems gathered in Annapolis, Maryland to present their endeavors and provide advice on how to build a critical mass of work that will lead to collaborations that span disciplines. The SESYNC-hosted symposium brought together leading scholars from natural sciences and social sciences to discuss challenges of discovery of novel collaborations that help individuals span natural and social science boundaries.

Basic research will always be important, but the current state of the environment and its social consequences means there is far more interest in producing scholarship that is useful beyond academia. As it happens, understanding the of linkages and feedbacks between social and environmental systems has grown immensely, explained Margaret Palmer.
Keynote Speakers

Resource frontiers and governance, choices for society, and the boundary between science and the role science wants to play emerged as key themes of the symposium.
Michael Watts
"Complex systems fail in complex ways," said Michael Watts. "One of the consequences of thinking about resiliency and building resilient systems is that it takes for granted that systems typically involve many parts that are connected in all sorts of complex ways."

Susanne Moser
"Boundary spanning is becoming important because it is totally artificial to have the w orld all be split into different pieces, and we're learning that's not helping us solve the problems to think of them in this very deep but incredibly narrow way," said Suzanne Moser. "Instead we are beginning to realize that the connections between disciplines, across science, to practice, to policy, and to the public are much more fruitful and important to focus on to solve the grand challenges in sustainability."

Ray Hilborn
"We are realizing that we need a systems look, whether it's the food system or water system, we need to look at whole systems, and the strict disciplinary analysis of these issues is insufficient to get at finding the solutions," said Ray Hilborn.

Symposium Themes

Socio-Environmental Systems...
under Stress

Lori Peek
"Boundary spanning is one of the most crucial areas we could be thinking about," explained Lori Peek. "So many big, mega-catastrophes have been unfolding across the nation and around the world, and it makes me think more about how do we move across disciplinary boundaries, how do we move across research to practice to policy boundaries...making research actionable feels so important."

in Transition

Tim Koehler
"We have an awful lot of new archaeological data that is just emerging over the last two to three decades. That has made it possible for us to address problems that we haven't been able to address before, and to bring new sources of data to bear on old problems," said Koehler.

by Design

Joan Nassauer
In socio-environmental systems by design, innovations include moving research into communities in deep and rich ways to understand the locally specific questions and options for interventions for challenges that communities are facing. By using local knowledge and local needs, and applying a socio-environmental synthesis framework to the problems, research can help inform ways to mitigate natural disaster risks while ensuring and enhancing quality of life.

Watch the full presentation.              
SESYNC Publications

Understanding the Impacts of Research Synthesis. Published in  Environmental Science and Policy by Carina Wyborn and colleagues, including Jon Kramer and Jim Boyd .

Reconciliation of development and ecosystems: the ecology of governance in the International Columbia River Basin. Published in   Regional Environmental Change by Barbara Cosens and colleagues as part of the Pursuits,  Large-scale Natural Resource Conservation & Restoration: Issues of Governance and  Social-ecological System Resilience, Climate Change, & Adaptive Water Governance.

Predictability of demographic rates based on phylogeny and biological similarity. Published in Conservation Biology by former SESYNC postdoc
Judy Che-Castaldo, Christian Che-Castaldo, and Maile C. Neel.

Disentangling the effects of climate and urban growth on streamflow for sustainable urban development: A stochastic approach to flow regime attribution. By SESYNC Postdoc  Tijana Jovanovic and colleagues and published in Landscape and Urban Planning.

Effects of forests on children's diets in developing countries: a cross-sectional study. Published in The Lancet Planetary Health by Ranaivo Rasolofoson and colleagues and part of the Pursuit,  Evaluating relationships among human health & welfare, ecological condition & natural resource governance.

The dangers of disaster-driven responses to climate change. Published in Nature Climate Change by Sarah E. Anderson and colleagues as part of the Pursuit,  Salience & Wildfire .

Recreational use in dispersed public lands measured using social media data and on-site counts. Published in  Journal of Environmental Management by David Fisher and colleagues as part of the Pursuit, 

A multi-city comparison of front and backyard differences in plant species diversity and nitrogen cycling in residential landscapes. Published in   Landscape and Urban Planning by SESYNC Postdoc Dexter Locke, former SESYNC Postdoc Meghan Avolio, and colleagues.

High dispersal ability is related to fast life-history strategies. Published in Journal of Ecology by former SESYNC Postdoc Noelle Beckman, James Bullock, and Roberto Salguero-G√≥mez.

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