Key concepts

© Adrien Lambrechts

Social- Ecological systems

Marine and coastal social-ecological systems (SES) are at the very core of Apolimer’s collaborators research. The SES framework is an analytical framework that has been proposed to represent the relationships between nature and humans. In the SES view, human societies and their environment are represented  as intertwined systems. Therefore, an especially important feature of this framework is to render possible the representation of social-ecological interdependencies as relational links between human and non-human components of the system. 

Example of a social ecological-system's structure as a dynamic model

Adaptive management

Building on the failure of societies to address the complex nature of SES systems and addressing the problem of their constant change, researchers in sustainability science increasingly advocate for the the need for a transformation of management and governance systems of SES. Therefore, through the concepts of adaptive management or adaptive governance they propose new management schemes composed  set of normative principles purposely aimed at transforming the SES governance regimes. Research conducted in the frame of the Apolimer observatory seeks to proceed to an theoretical cooling on these notions, and empirically study their development and use in societies to better understand their socio-political stakes. 


SES Governance

The governance system of an SES can be described as the system of actors, institutions and norms involved in decision making processes influencing the management of one SES. Thus, governance systems, and the way they change,  influence the trajectories of SES. To actively engage with the adaptive management of these SES towards sustainability is therefore a challenge in terms of governance. One goal of Apolimer is to study the power relations shaping the functioning of the governance systems of SES. Building knowledge around the notion of power gap, we focus our research around power as an essential factor enabling or preventing the transformation of SES.

Ecological solidarity

The challenges of the reframing the government of human nature relationships in the Anthropocene are also great in legal terms. Apolimer’s researchers’ goal is therefore also to contribute to reflexions at this level. Building on the notion of social-ecological interdependences, our work seeks to address the challenges of translation in legal terms. The principle of ecological solidarity, allowing the acknowledgement of the ecological rationale that binds humans and non-humans together, is therefore key to our analyses. We will focus our work to understand whether this conceptual tool is capable of rebalancing the deregulation of human/nature relations and reducing social inequalities.