Environmental Science

The relationship between nature and society is complex. Varying levels of economic development, societal organisation, lifestyles and activities influence ecological values, human wellbeing and, more generally, sustainability. At Södertörn University, we have therefore chosen to integrate perspectives and theories from the natural and social sciences in Environmental Science research.

Researchers and doctoral students engage in research and scholarship with the aim of understanding and governing the complex interactions between society and the environment, using concepts and methods from the natural and social sciences. Our research includes for example the governance of terrestrial and marine environments and resources in the Baltic Sea region, the rights of indigenous peoples in Latin America, and how knowledge of paleoenvironments can contribute to current understandings of ongoing environmental change.

Our work emphasises the understanding of interactions between contemporary societal development patterns and their relationship to sustainability problems, as well as working with partners outside academia to forge sustainable pathways. We take an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to engaging with sustainability, which considers how multiple dimensions of sustainability interact, including cultural, economic, environmental, political, and societal aspects.

Our research focuses on the Baltic Sea region, as well as regions in the Global South, and is conducted within two research themes:

Sustainability challenges and pathways

Research in the theme examines how sustainability is described and understood in and across different contexts, and how it can be promoted at various levels from the local to the global. It has three focus areas:

  • Governance and management
  • Development, equity and power
  • Transdisciplinarity and transformation


Research in the theme focuses on environmental and ecosystem change over different temporal and spatial scales as a result of climatic, geological and biological processes, as well as human-induced impacts. It has three focus areas:

  • Environmental change
  • Ecological processes
  • Human impact and sustainability

Research in Environmental Science is currently conducted by around 25 researchers and 11 doctoral students. More information about doctoral education in Environmental Science can be found at Environmental Studies.


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