Identifying past social-ecological thresholds to understand long-term temporal dynamics in Spain

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


  • Fernando Santos-Martín
  • Blanca González García-Mon
  • José A. González
  • Irene Iniesta-Arandia
  • Marina García-Llorente
  • Carlos Montes
  • Federica Ravera
  • Cesar A. López-Santiago
  • Óscar Carpintero
  • Javier Benayas
  • Berta Martín-López

A thorough understanding of long-term temporal social-ecological dynamics at the national scale helps to explain the current condition of a country’s ecosystems and to support environmental policies to tackle future sustainability challenges. We aimed to develop a methodological approach to understand past long-term (1960-2010) social-ecological dynamics in Spain. First, we developed a methodical framework that allowed us to explore complex social-ecological dynamics among biodiversity, ecosystem services, human well-being, drivers of change, and institutional responses. Second, we compiled 21 long-term, national-scale indicators and analyzed their temporal relationships through a redundancy analysis. Third, we used a Bayesian change point analysis to detect evidence of past social-ecological thresholds and historical time periods. Our results revealed that Spain has passed through four socialecological thresholds that define five different time periods of nature and society relationships. Finally, we discussed how the proposed methodological approach helps to reinterpret national-level ecosystem indicators through a new conceptual lens to develop a more systems-based way of understanding long-term social-ecological patterns and dynamics.

ZeitschriftEcology and Society
Anzahl der Seiten23
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.07.2019

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
This study was designed as part of the Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment ( All of the research members of the Spanish Ecosystem Assessment and Social-Ecological Systems Laboratory (http://www.laboratoriosocioecosistemas. es/) from the Autonomous University of Madrid provided ideas that inspired this study. This work was supported by the Biodiversity Foundation ( of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Partial financial support was also provided by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain (project CGL2014-53782-P: ECOGRADIENTES). The Spanish National Institute for Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (INIA) funded Marina García-Llorente as part of the European Social Fund. Blanca González García-Mon participated in this article as a "la Caixa" Banking Foundation scholar. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, preparation of the report, or the decision to submit the study for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the author(s).