About Us

What’s in an image? The story of our logo. 

Our logo was originally a painting by Sofia Jain-Schlapfer who is both an artist and biologist. 

Our logo represents our research, and begins from the ground up. The roots are different ways of thinking and knowing – our diverse knowledges, disciplinary expertise, and experiences. Together, they are woven and integrated into the tree foliage to illustrate the interconnectedness of humans and nature – what we study.  The woman’s face represents the people in the systems we work, while her hair is the river that is connected to forests, mountains, and other aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that we study. The tree embodies our holistic approach to research and to finding solutions in a changing world, and emphasizes our continuous growth and learning. 

As a research group, we value, cherish, and respect all peoples and living beings — from their roots to where they have branched today. We are a diverse group of individuals working together towards a common goal. We are commited to fostering, supporting, and celebrating diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our work. We believe in responsibility, reciprocity, and respect for the world we live in. 

What’s in a name? Social Ecology and Conservation Collaborative.  

Conservation, in our view, aims to  protect the natural world through maintaining and enhancing the integrity of ecosystems for current and future generations. It is to act as guardians and ensure that the world we live in will flourish for generations to come. Conservation is also about people working together and integrating diverse discplines, knowledges, experiences, and expertise towards harmonious relationships between people and nature  

By studying both social and ecological systems in the field of social ecology, we examine the relationships between people and their environment, often focusing on the connections and interdependencies between ecosystems, peoples, collectives, and institutions.  

Our work is interdisciplinary and collaborative. We work across a wide range of epistemological and methodological approaches, bringing a diverse set of questions and tools to study human-environment dynamics. To work towards effective conservation and to ensure the wellbeing of people and communities we must work in partnership with various stakeholders and rightsholders. Thus, all our work is collaborative  in order to enrich and ground our research in practical and applied contexts. 

Areas of Expertise

Our research group has expertise and interest in the following areas:

Human dimensions of natural resource management
Natural resource management
Socio-economic studies
Adoption or diffusion of innovation
Public and stakeholder perceptions
Stakeholder and community engagement
Knowledge and evidence synthesis
Knowledge exchange and mobilization / science policy

Our Research

Our research focuses on connecting the dimensions of people, the environment and policy to broad thematic areas including, but not limited to:


Natural Resources



Food Security
and Wellbeing

Our research embodies inter- and transdisciplinary principles to solve today’s environmental and societal challenges. We conduct research using concepts and principles from knowledge exchange and mobilization theory, social ecology, and human dimensions research. Our work spans the interface of natural and social sciences, as well as science and policy. We are committed to knowledge mobilization including co-producing knowledge, co-creating research agendas and science communication.

Our Research Themes

Conducting inter- and transdisciplinary research to solve environmental and conservation challenges.

Bridging the Knowledge-Action Gap for Conservation and Natural Resource Management

Overview of theme:

Mobilizing evidence for decision-making, management and conservation practices is important for implementing effective solutions to increasingly complex environmental, societal and policy problems such as climate change, population growth, and biodiversity loss. Using evidence, however, remains a significant challenge. As a result, greater research has been devoted to understanding the “science-policy” or “knowledge-action” gap. One of our major research themes is to better understand this gap between knowledge and action, and how we can bridge that gap to bring relevant and best-available knowledge into policy and practice.

The Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management

Overview of theme:

Conservation and natural resource management have traditionally been dominated by knowledge informed by natural sciences. The natural sciences have often revealed potential solutions, but implementation of solutions require the social sciences because we deal with humans and society. The human dimensions are thus critical for ensuring that conservation and natural resource management strategies are effective. Studying people matters if we are to solve today’s increasingly complex problems.

Integrated Social Ecological Research

Overview of theme:

Social ecological system (SES) was first coined in the 70s (Ratzlaff 1970). Since then, the SES concept has been widely used in both environmental and social sciences among other disciplines. In our lab, we integrate approaches from both social and ecological sciences to tackle complex environmental and conservation issues. We do this by collaborating with academics and non-academics towards a solution-oriented approach. We ensure that all of our projects are partnered with knowledge users to ensure our work is relevant, legitimate, and applicable. It is not possible for one discipline or knowledge system to solve wicked problems, and thus by working together with relevant stakeholders and rightsholders, with different knowledge systems and disciplines, we strive for more socially and ecologically robust solutions.