Research / Research areas

Environmental Studies

Graphic element for the research area of Environmental Studies

Södertörn University has addressed the challenge of integrating Natural and Social Sciences creating a relevant, dynamic and engaged interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research area: Environmental Studies.

Within Environmental Studies, researchers draw on approaches,theories and methods from different disciplines in order to achieve an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the causes, scope and management of problems relating to the environment and natural resources, and necessary conditions for sustainable growth. This broad interdisciplinary research area, examines human interaction with ecological processes, from different natural science and social science disciplinary viewpoints. The research covers ecological and other natural processes that affect the ecosystems over space and time, environmental changes and problems caused by anthropogenic influences as well as environmental policy, governance and sustainable development. Knowledge in both ecological and social sciences is necessary for the understanding of the complexity and multidimensionality of environmental issues and problems. Research within Environmental studies at Södertörn University focuses on three integrated themes: Environmental Change and Ecological Processes, Environmental Governance and Environment and Development.


About the area


In order to address and understand issues related to the environment and development, a major perspective is to examine how ecological systems and social systems function and interact.

We live in a complex world, in where understanding dynamic human – nature interactions is vital to interpreting trajectories of environmental change and possible response pathways. Within the research area of Environmental Studies, different natural science and social science disciplinary viewpoints are important in the theoretical environmental science frameworks in order to obtain a better understanding of the relations between environmental change, ecological processes and human interaction. Some of the current research questions include the effects of toxic chemicals and the impact of climate change on humans and the environment, how to achieve the sustainable use of natural resources and the role of the functional capacity of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning during enviornmantl change.

Research in Environmental Studies at Södertörn University currently comprises around twenty doctoral students and approximately the same number of senior researchers as supervisors. The senior researchers have disciplinary backgrounds in natural resource studies, geography, ecology, biology, microbiology, ecotoxicology, geosciences, sociology, political science and economic history and typically have extensive experience from transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects. Most of our research is geographically focused toward the Baltic Sea region, but other regions, such as Africa and South America, as well as global and political structures are well represented.

Our research is integrated within three related and partly overlapping themes. Click on the themes below for more information.

Environmental Governance

Environment and Development

Environmental Change and Ecological Processes


Kari Lehtilä, Professor in Environmental Sciences and Chair of Environmental Studies. Phone: +46 8 608 4861

Karin Hellström, Academic Secretary, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies. Phone: +46 8 608 4273