What are your research topics?
At the core of my research are our constantly changing and evolving landscapes, what they offer to us in terms of ecosystem services as well as sense of self and place, and how they affect biodiversity. My entry point is the active shaping of landscapes through practices of planning, management, and use, along with the motivations behind it together with its consequences for biodiversity – humanity included.
The context of my investigations varies from urban development to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem-based climate adaptation. Many of the methods I use rely on collective sense-making and actor dialogues. I also have an interest in researching and developing the practice of this inter- and transdisciplinary field.
Where and how does your research topic have an impact?
Fundamentally, my work is about working with nature to find ways of dealing with today’s crises and challenges. This is something that can be done at scales from the very local to the global, from working with green infrastructure as a strategic asset for urban development to rethinking regional strategies for food production, climate adaptation, and biodiversity conservation.
With an interest in landscapes and the spatially explicit, my research has close connections to local to regional planning, which is among the more immediate routes to practical application.
What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?
We are becoming, again, more aware of the multiple functions and values of landscapes wild or tame. With the push for transformation comes a will not just to reduce harm but to do good and rethink our relation to nature.
Researching and supporting this shift and finding new ways to bring together the diverse and sometimes contradictory ambitions behind sustainable development feels highly relevant – and it is intellectually fun to be engaged in a field of research under rapid development.
Erik Andersson is Professor of Sustainable Development at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.