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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1039; doi:10.3390/su9071039

More Than a Potential Hazard—Approaching Risks from a Social-Ecological Perspective

1
ISOE—Institute for Social-Ecological Research, 60486 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
2
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), 60325 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 9 May 2017 / Accepted: 27 May 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Ecology. State of the Art and Future Prospects)
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Abstract

Risks have been classically understood as a probability of damage or a potential hazard resulting in appropriate management strategies. However, research on environmental issues such as pollutants in the aquatic environment or the impacts of climate change have shown that classical management approaches do not sufficiently cover these interactions between society and nature. There have been several attempts to develop interdisciplinary approaches to risk that include natural as well as social science contributions. In this paper, the authors aim at developing a social-ecological perspective on risk by drawing on the concept of societal relations to nature and the model of provisioning systems. This perspective is used to analyze four cases, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, semicentralized water infrastructures and forest management, with regard to risk identification, assessment and management. Finally, the paper aims at developing a perspective on risks which takes into account non-intended side-effects, system interdependencies and uncertainty. View Full-Text
Keywords: pharmaceuticals; microplastics; semicentralized water infrastructures; forest management; provisioning system; normal operation pharmaceuticals; microplastics; semicentralized water infrastructures; forest management; provisioning system; normal operation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Völker, C.; Kramm, J.; Kerber, H.; Schramm, E.; Winker, M.; Zimmermann, M. More Than a Potential Hazard—Approaching Risks from a Social-Ecological Perspective. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1039.

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