A conceptual template for integrative human-environment research

B Newell, C Crumley, N Hassan, E Lambin, Claudia Pahl-Wosti, A Underal, Robert Wasson

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    Knowledge integration, the blending of concepts from two or more disciplines to create innovative new worldviews, is a key process in attempts to increase the sustainability of human activities on Earth. In this paper, we describe a 'conceptual template'that can be used to catalyse this process. The template comprises (a) a list of high-level concepts that capture the essential aspects of any significant human-environment problem, plus (b) broad lists of low-level basic concepts drawn from a range of disciplines. Our high-level concepts, which we call 'conceptual clusters', are labelled Dynamics & System, Organisation & Scale, Controlling Models, Management & Policy, Adaptation & Learning, and History. Many of the clustered, lower-level concepts are synonyms and thus provide possible connections between disciplines - for this reason we call them 'nexus concepts'. We suggest that a conceptual template like that presented here can provide strong support to the initial phases of integrative research programs. � 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)299-307
    Number of pages9
    JournalGlobal Environmental Change
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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