Janet presents the PEGASUS social-ecological systems approach at the EAAE Conference in Parma

Janet Dwyer is currently at the XV EAAE Congress in Parma, Italy, where she is presenting a paper linked to research on the EU funded PEGASUS project.

This triennial event gathers academics, scholars, practitioners, stakeholders and policy makers in the Food Valley to dissect the latest and most pressing issues characterising Agriculture and the Food Industry, from a local to an international perspective, dedicating significant attention also to novel and emerging concerns for society. This year’s conference is entitled “Towards Sustainable Agri-Food Systems: Balancing between Markets and Society”.

Janet is presenting the paper in the session “Developing Transferable Models for Valorisation of Ecosystem Services from Agriculture and Forestry Using the SocioEcological Systems Approach” which aims to pay attention to the ways in which ecosystem services and sustainable man-made agricultural/forestry systems can be valorised through market activity (value-chain approach) or targeted public support (area-based approach).

The paper that Janet is presenting is entitled “Social-Ecological Systems (S-E-S) as a Framework for Analysis – Enhancing Public Benefits from EU Farming and Forestry’, and was authored by Janet Dwyer and Chris Short (CCRI), Anne Maréchal and Kaley Hart (IEEP), Marielle Berriet-Solliec and Francois Gaël-Lataste (INRA).

In short, the paper presents the S-E-S approach of the PEGASUS project, its merits and its limits. It introduces the reasons why S-E-S is identified as a conceptual approach particularly suited to the topic of promoting and enhancing sustainable agriculture and forestry. It compares and contrasts the analytical insights and drawbacks of previous approaches, including public goods theory from economics and ecosystem services theory from applied ecology, and suggests how S-E-S can reflect both perspectives in a linked and holistic way, also adding a new system-level dimension which is important for considering enhancement. The second part of the paper explores how and to what extent the social and environmental benefits generated by more sustainable farming and forestry may be valued by society; and consider how the valorisation cascade influences the variety and extent of possible options to enhance these outcomes. Finally, it concludes with some reflections upon more optimal and pluralistic approaches for policy and practice, as suggested by this analytical perspective.