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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Systems integration for global sustainability

  • Author(s): Liu, J
  • Mooney, H
  • Hull, V
  • Davis, SJ
  • Gaskell, J
  • Hertel, T
  • Lubchenco, J
  • Seto, KC
  • Gleick, P
  • Kremen, C
  • Li, S
  • et al.

Global sustainability challenges, from maintaining biodiversity to providing clean air and water, are closely interconnected yet often separately studied and managed. Systems integration-holistic approaches to integrating various components of coupled human and natural systems-is critical to understand socioeconomic and environmental interconnections and to create sustainability solutions. Recent advances include the development and quantification of integrated frameworks that incorporate ecosystem services, environmental footprints, planetary boundaries, human-nature nexuses, and telecoupling. Although systems integration has led to fundamental discoveries and practical applications, further efforts are needed to incorporate more human and natural components simultaneously, quantify spillover systems and feedbacks, integrate multiple spatial and temporal scales, develop new tools, and translate findings into policy and practice. Such efforts can help address important knowledge gaps, link seemingly unconnected challenges, and inform policy and management decisions.

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