Ana Sofia Vaz | October 9, 2015 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Complex and dynamic social-ecological challenges, such as invasive species, land use and climate change, have been increasing in relevance in both scientific and policy communities. There is an increasing evidence on the fact that these challenges cannot be analysed with disciplinary approaches alone, but instead with an integrative, cross-disciplinary perspective that considers the interacting relations between the social and the ecological system. Synthesis research constitutes a holistic method for accounting with these multifaceted, social-ecological challenges. Drawn from multiple sources, data, ideas and theories, synthesis may involve critical evaluations of past and current trends in scientific knowledge, research and evidence, providing the identification of knowledge-gaps and future perspectives when dealing with coupled human-environmental systems. In this seminar, two case studies grounded in synthesis research will be presented and discussed based on the assessment and analysis of relevant literature data for meeting specific social-ecological questions. The first study, will illustrate a temporal overview on the extent to which multidisciplinary research has been conducted over the last century to address social-ecological challenges posed by biological invasions. The second study will show how a synthesis-based, conceptual framework, can provide evidence for clarifying linkages between ecosystem service provision, indicators, and social-ecological drivers in worldwide forests. The results obtained will be further discussed in regards to their practical application, and usefulness for improving understanding of social-ecological challenges.


Ana Sofia Vaz is a second year PhD student under the Doctoral Program “Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution” at the University of Porto and a member of the Predictive Ecology (PRECOL) group in CIBIO-InBIO (PI: João Honrado). She is supervised by João Honrado (CIBIO-InBIO) and Domingo Alcaraz-Segura (University of Granada) with a thesis project entitled “The dynamics of forest ecosystem services and disservices - socio-ecological interactions in forest landscapes under global change”.


Image credits: Ana Sofia Vaz