Socio-Ecological Land Systems of Latin America

Short Description

Socio-Ecological Land Systems (SELS) include different processes and contexts that enable integrating the socio-ecological aspects of territories with regional land-uses. There are many disciplines that study them, from the social or economic sciences, the environmental or the land use sciences. A thorough and holistic understanding and definition of large scale SELS is a challenging synthesis endeavor that must be  addressed collectively by an array of specialists. This group is building an interdisciplinary team of researchers to integrate their expertise and territorial knowledge into understanding the intertwined relations between land-use patterns and their associated socio-ecological systems (and vice versa) of Latin America.

Goals and Objectives

The overall goal of this WG is to generate a channel for discussion and collaboration on the understanding and defining of SELS for Latin America by contrasting and synthesizing experts’ territorial knowledge with available socio-ecological data. Our overarching aim is to contribute to the Land System Science community by generating a reference framework for analyzing patterns and processes in land science, management and planning under the umbrella of SELS in Latin America. Above all, we hope this Working Group can be a catalyst for generating new avenues and empowering the GLP community to work closely together, while expanding multidisciplinary work in the context of Socio-Ecological Land Systems.

This group’s research interests include:

  • systematically analyze, map and characterize the SELS of SA (ongoing), 
  • expand the effort to include Central America and Caribbean,
  • explore the dynamism of the SELS systems at large and at more detailed (i.e., sub national) levels,
  • delve into the nature of the characteristics that differentiates the land systems,
  • propose ways to bridge lack of data in certain areas (especially social and cultural dimensions),
  • investigate land-use induced biotic homogenization and their reactions on face of climate change, among others. 

Specifically, the group proposes the following concrete work outputs:


  • Create a spatial characterization of SELS for SA (ongoing)
  • Participatory discussions: in-situ at GLP OSM Bern 2019 and online conference of co-authors and WG leaders for contributing to this work.
  • Research manuscript to be submitted by September 2020 (lead by WG leaders) with title: “Mapping Socio-Ecological Land Systems of South America”.

Short term:

  • Define the agenda of coming years after our collaboration work on spatial SELS for SA: compilation of potential venues for continuing collaborative research and emerging research questions (paper, book, opinion piece)
  • Organize a symposium or immersive session in up-coming OSM GLP 2021 in the Americas and during the Argentine Ecology meeting (end of 2020)

Long term:

  • Promote the use of the spatial SELS and conceptual model as a framework for organizing research and teaching agendas related to Land Science; for example, linking with IAI activities and GLP Latin American Nodal Office.
  • Develop science towards communicating results to stakeholders outside of the scientific journal universe and promote co-production research.

GLP Themes: Telecoupling of land use systems, Land governance, Land change trade-offs for ecosystem services and biodiversity , Land management systems


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Related Information


December 10, 2020

The webinar recording, presentations and additional materials for the GLP Social-Ecological Land Systems of Latin America (LASELS) Working Group (LASELS)'s first webinar are now available.

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November 15, 2020
Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 3:00pm

The Social-Ecological Land Systems of Latin America (LASELS) Working Group is pleased to invite you to the first webinar of the group. In this webinar you will hear about the concept of Socio-Ecological Land Systems (SELS) for South America presented by Dr. Sebastien Boillat. You will also be introduced to a novel spatial characterization of SELS for South America by Ms. Lucía Zarbá. The webinar will conclude with a presentation of the LASELS Working group and the upcoming agenda by Dr. María Piquer-Rodríguez, which will be then open for discussion.

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August 18, 2020

A new special issue of the Journal of Land Use Science illustrates the multi-dimensionality of land use change at Latin American frontiers by exploring transdisciplinary cross-fertilization. 

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October - December 2020

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