The principal approach of PECS research is comparisons of place-based, long-term social-ecological case studies. PECS will also develop and facilitate a set of dynamic, interdisciplinary working groups that focus on different cross-cutting topics. PECS will provide the mechanisms for a deep intellectual exchange among these diverse projects, case-studies and working groups on social–ecological systems. You can read more about these under “Affiliate projects” and “Working groups“.

Differences in the methods used is sometimes a barrier to comparative analyses of social–ecological research, yet diverse social–ecological systems often require different methods. A key part of the capacity-building strategy for PECS will be training workshops on core methods for place-based, long- term social-ecological research. Examples of such methods include qualitative analysis of narratives, various kinds of models, and scenario planning and resilience thinking. These workshops will address the variability in methods and standardize methods when this is appropriate.

PECS will also sponsor broader workshops to develop cross-cutting themes that contribute to a wide range of research on social–ecological systems. Because PECS is envisioned as a bottom-up, researcher-driven platform, diverse input and leadership will be encouraged as PECS develops.

In 2021, PECS embarked on a process to update its Science Plan and identify a new set of themes and working groups around which to focus its activities for the next 5-10 years. Together with the Scientific Committee, we identified four new themes:
(1) The Dynamics of the Anthropocene;
(2) Fostering Stewardship in Diverse Contexts;
(3) Transformations to Sustainable Futures; and
(4) Mainstreaming Knowledge Co-Production.
These themes are intended to set the broad frame for Working Group and overall PECS activities for the coming decade. Learn more about the themes by clicking on the boxes.