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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Ecosystems and People

For a Special Issue on
Advancing transdisciplinary research on transformations in social-ecological systems in the Global South

Manuscript deadline
31 December 2022

Cover image - Ecosystems and People

Special Issue Editor(s)

Dr Matthew Weaver , Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University, South Africa
[email protected]

Dr Nadia Sitas, Centre for Sustainability Transitions, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
[email protected]

Dr Jessica Cockburn, Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, South Africa

Professor Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Institut für Geographie, Institut für Umweltsystemforschung, University of Osnabrück, Germany

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Advancing transdisciplinary research on transformations in social-ecological systems in the Global South

The Submission window for this Special Issue is now closed, and we are no longer accepting new manuscripts.

Transformation research - SDGs, Resource Nexus and Transdisciplinarity in the Global South
The growing emphasis on social and human dimensions in ecosystem sciences and resource nexus challenges points to the need for more in-depth, transdisciplinary understandings of transformative approaches and processes. This includes – but is not limited to - transformative learning approaches. Moreover, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been critiqued for their lack of integration and for reinforcing siloed approaches, pointing to a need for understanding sustainability challenges and ecosystem management in more integrated ways.

Shifting towards more sustainable development trajectories requires large scale transformative change and more inclusive and systemic approaches which embrace complexity. This requires a move away from top-down technocratic approaches, towards adaptive, inclusive, and innovative governance to enable transformative change. However, scientific understanding of how such change can be brought about is still limited. Transdisciplinary approaches to understanding transformative processes, that bridge the ecological and social sciences are needed.

One of the responses to these issues has been to take a ‘nexus approach’ to natural resource and ecosystem sustainability challenges. In recent years, nexus approaches have been advocated by diverse communities in science, policy, and business, revealing new perspectives on ecosystem management and climate change.  Interconnected approaches to sustainability challenges, such as the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus, and complex social-ecological systems framings, focus on important interdependencies between ecosystems, economic sectors, and industries as well as scholarly and policy communities.

Resource nexus and sustainability challenges are of particular interest in the Global South and post-colonial contexts. Contexts that are frequently characterised by a rapidly growing young population, high rates of urbanisation, high levels of inequality and significant opportunity for innovation.  In this special issue, our focus is on the human and social dimensions of such transformative processes, whilst also giving attention to the intersecting relation between humans and ecosystems. In the post-colonial and Global South contexts, the issues of equity and empowerment are of specific interest and thus, aspects of learning, agency, structure and power seem central features for consideration.

The following key questions will be central to papers in the Special Issue as they relate to the SDGs, ecosystem management, resource nexus contexts:

  1. What is the role of social science concepts and theories (including learning, agency, structure and power) in supporting transformative processes and strengthening transdisciplinary research?
  2. How can multiple cases and sites of transformation and transformative learning in resource nexus contexts be analysed and compared using these, and similar, social science concepts?
  3. How do scale and scale dynamics influence transformation and transformative learning processes in social-ecological systems?
  4. What is the role of crises in stimulating transformation processes and triggering transformative learning? What is the nature and response to crises in the context of sustainability transformations?
  5. What is the role of institutions and governance in transformation processes? How do these formations arise and function? What is the role of transdisciplinary practice in supporting and enabling transformative governance approaches?

Submission Instructions

While this Special Issue is open to additional contributions from beyond the initial set of papers identified, they will need to be submitted within the timeframes below. The Guest Editors will assess these additional contributions on the basis of abstracts to be submitted by the 25th of April 2022.

For the preparation of your manuscript, which should be of high quality and should not exceed 8,000 words*, please use the guide for authors provided by the journal’s editors under:


* Note that this word limit can differ, depending on the article type. If the submitted article type is a perspective or short communication, for instance, the word limit will be considerably lower.

Please note that authors of accepted papers will pay an article publishing charge (APC) of $1,235/£950/€1,090/AUD1,655, plus any VAT or additional local taxes, following double-blind peer review. Members of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) are eligible for a 15% discount on the standard APC. In addition, authors working in low-income countries are eligible for a 100% discount, and from lower-middle income countries for a 50% discount - more info here: https://authorservices.taylorandfrancis.com/publishing-open-access/requesting-an-apc-waiver/


  • Abstracts deadline (but please submit as soon as possible): 7th March 2022
  • Manuscript deadline: 31st May 2022
  • 1st Review of manuscripts: 30th August 2022
  • Submission of revised manuscripts: 30th October 2022
  • 2nd Review of manuscripts: 15th January 2023
  • Final decisions: 15th March 2023
  • Completion of Special Issue: 30th April 2023 

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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