The Askö Meetings

The Askö Meetings

Since 1993 the Beijer Institute annually organizes informal workshops for internationally leading ecologists and economists at the island of Askö in the Baltic Sea. The Askö meetings have generated unique cooperation between these disciplines.

Twenty years ago the disciplines of ecology and economy stood far apart. Ecologists and economists generally viewed one another with suspicion, and economic growth and environmental protection seemed incompatible. When Professor Karl-Göran Mäler in the beginning of the nineties became the director of the new Beijer Institute it was with a conviction that the big environmental challenges could only be solved if ecological and socioeconomic systems were viewed as coupled, which called for transdisciplinary cooperation between economists and ecologists.
To pave the way for such cooperation he decided in 1993 to organize a workshop at the Askö Laboratory, a marine field station off the Swedish east coast. The meeting was to be informal with a selected, open minded group of people discussing a given theme.
-I was keen on creating a warm and open atmosphere so that the participants would feel comfortable in interacting with people from different scientific backgrounds, says Karl-Göran Mäler. Thus, we spent the first evening eating, drinking wine and singing together.

The first Askö meeting was a great success and the discussions and comparisons of economic and ecological models resulted in an article in Bioscience titled “Ecologists and economists can find common ground”.

Since then Askö meetings has been held every year and apart from leading to a number of articles in scientific journals such as Science, they have generated collaboration between ecologists and economists reaching far beyond this small island in the Baltic. A core group of persons have been invited regularly, among them economists Partha Dasgupta and Economics Laureate Kenneth Arrow, as well as ecologists Gretchen Daily, Buzz Holling, Paul Erlich and Simon Levin. 

In the book Bringing Ecologists and Economists Together - The Askö Meetings and Papers, published 2010 by Springer Verlag, a number of Askö participants describe the importance of the familiar atmosphere at Askö for the success of the workshops. The economist Kerry Smith notes: “Genuine collaboration needs a culture that encourages these academics to be adventurous and think outside the domain of their expertise. It must be tolerant and constructive. In such a setting, respect and admiration build trust and friendship.”

Publications from the Askö meetings:

Does Aquaculture Add Resilience to the Global Food System? Troell, M., Rosamond L. Naylor, M. Metian, M. Beveridge, P. Tyedmers, C. Folke, K. Arrow, S. Barrett, A-S. Crépin, P. Ehrlich, Å. Gren, N. Kautsky, S. Levin, K. Nyborg, H. Österblom, S. Polasky, M. Scheffer, B. Walker, T. Xepapadeas, A. de Zeeuw. 20104.  PNAS  (2014)

Climate engineering reconsidered. Barrett, S., T. M. Lenton, A. Millner, A. Tavoni, S. Carpenter, J. M. Anderies, F. S. Chapin III, A.-S. Crépin, G. Daily, P. Ehrlich, C. Folke, V. Galaz, T. Hughes, N. Kautsky, E. Lambin, R. Naylor, K. Nyborg, S. Polasky, M. Scheffer, J. Wilen, A. Xepapadeas, and A. de Zeeuw.  Nature Climate Change 4:527-529 (2014) 

Social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems: modeling and policy implications. Levin, S. , Xepapadeas, A. , Crépin, A.-S., Norberg, J, de Zeeuw, A., Folke, C., Hughes, T. , Arrow, K. , Barrett, S., Daily, G. , Ehrlich, P., Kautsky, N. , Mäler, K.-G-, Polasky, S, Troell, M.,  Vincent, J.R. and B. Walker. Environment and Development Economics (2012)

General Resilience to Cope with Extreme Events. Carpenter, S.R.; Arrow, K.J.; Barrett, S.; Biggs, R.; Brock, W.A.; Crépin, A.-S.; Engström, G.; Folke, C.; Hughes, T.P.; Kautsky, N.; Li, C.-Z.; McCarney, G.; Meng, K.; Mäler, K.-G.; Polasky, S.; Scheffer, M.; Shogren, J.; Sterner, T.; Vincent, J.R.; Walker, B.; Xepapadeas, A.; Zeeuw, A.D.  Sustainability, 4, 3248-3259 (2012)

Looming Global-scale Failures and Missing Institutions. Brian Walker, Victor Galaz, Stephen Polasky, Carl Folke Scott Barrett, Gustav Engström, Frank Ackerman, Ken Arrow, Stephen Carpenter, Kanchan Chopra, Gretchen Daily, Paul Ehrlich, Terry Hughes, Nils Kautsky, Simon Levin, Karl-Göran Mäler, Jason Shogren, Jeff Vincent, Tasos Xepapadeas, and Aart de Zeeuw. Science 325: 1345-1346 (2009)

Quick Fixes For the Environment – Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem? Thomas Sterner,  Sterner, T., M. Troell, J. Vincent, S. Carpenter, S. Levin, S. Barrett, P. Ehrlich, W. Brock, S. Aniyar, K. Chopra, M. Hoel, K-G, Mäler, J. Norberg, L. Pihl, T. Söderqvist, J. Wilen, , A. Xepapadeas   Environment Vol 48 No 10, pp. 20-27 (2006).

Building Resilience and Adaptation to Manage Arctic Change. Stuart Chapin III et al. Ambio Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 198-202, June (2006).

Are We Consuming Too Much? Kenneth Arrow, Partha Dasgupta, Lawrence Goulder, Gretchen Daily, Paul Ehrlich, Geoffrey Heal, Simon Levin, Karl-Göran Mäler, Stephen Schneider, David Starrett and Brian Walker. Journal of Economic Perspectives Vol 18, No 3, pp. 147-172 (2004).

Genetic Diversity and Interdependent Crop Choices in Agriculture
. Geoffrey Heal, Brian Walker, Simon Levin, Kenneth Arrow, Partha Dasgupta, Gretchen Daily, Paul Ehrlich, Karl-Goran Maler, Nils Kautsky, Jane Lubchenco, Steve Schneider and David Starrett. Resource and Energy Economics 26:175-184 (2004)

Coping With Uncertainty: A Call for a New Science-Policy Forum
. Ann Kinzig, D. Starrett, K. Arrow, S. Aniyar, B. Bolin, P. Dasgupta, P. Ehrlich, C. Folke, M. Hanemann, G. Heal, M. Hoel, A-M. Jansson, B-O. Jansson, N. Kautsky, S. Levin, J. Lubchenco, K-G. Mäler, S. Pacala, S. Schneider, D. Siniscalco, and B. Walker. Ambio Vol 32. No 5, pp. 330-335. (2003).

Managing Ecosystem Resources
.  Kenneth Arrow, Gretchen Daily, Partha Dasgupta, Simon Levin, Karl-Göran Mäler, Eric Maskin, David Starrett, Thomas Sterner, and Thomas Tietenberg, Environmental Science and Technology, 2000, 34, pp1401-1406

The Value of Nature and the Nature of Value
. Gretchen Daily, Tore Söderqvist, Sara Aniyar, Kenneth Arrow, Partha Dasgupta, Paul R.Ehrlich, Carl Folke, AnnMarie Jansson, Bengt-Owe Jansson, Nils Kautsky, Simon Levin, Jane Lubchenco, Karl-Göran Mäler, David Simpson, David Starrett, David Tilman, Brian Walker, SCIENCE, (2000) vol 289, pp 395-396

Resilience in Natural and Socioeconomic Systems. 
Simon Levin, S. Barrett, S. Aniyar, W. Baumol, C. Bliss, B. Bolin, P. Dasgupta, P. Ehrlich, C. Folke, I.M. Gren, C.S. Holling, A.M. Jansson, B.-O. Jansson, D. Martin, K.-G. Mäler, C. Perrings and E. Sheshinsky. 1998. Resilience in Natural and Socioeconomic Systems. Environment and Development Economics 3: 222-235.

Food Production, Population Growth, and the Environment. 
Grectchen Daily, P. Dasgupta, B. Bolin, P. Crosson, J du Guerny, , P. Ehrlich, C. Folke, AM Jansson, B-O. Jansson, N. Kautsky, A. Kinzig, S. Levin, K-G. Mäler, P, Pinstrup-Andersen, D. Siniscalco, B. Walker. Science Vol 281, 1998, pp.1291-1292

Economic Growth, Carrying Capacity, and the Environment.
 Kenneth Arrow, B. Bolin, R. Costanza, P. Dasgupta, C. Folke, C.S. Holling, B.-O. Jansson,
S. Levin, K.G. Mäler, C. Perrings, 1995. Science 268: 520-521.

Ecologists and Economists Can Find Common Ground. 
Carl Folke, 1995. Bioscience 45: 283-284.