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A brief historical background to the currently ascending interest in evolutionary and coevolutionary theory is sketched, and the concept of society–nature coevolution is positioned in this broader field. The significance of society–nature coevolutionary pathways for transition to sustainability is highlighted with Schellnhuber's heuristic ‘theater world’ for representing paradigms of sustainable development. Geography's recent re‐engagement in the geographical experiment of keeping society and nature under one conceptual umbrella is exemplified in the works of Hägerstrand and Harvey. This special issue's four contributions to developing society–nature coevolutionary theory are presented. The outlook these articles provide suggests that research into society–nature coevolution should play a key role in identifying physically, biologically and socially accessible pathways to sustainability. In order to keep the future accessible and navigable, we will need enhanced understanding of society–nature coevolution.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, (PIK), PO Box 60 12 03, D-14412 Potsdam, Germany, 2: Department of Human Geography, and Lund University Centre of Excellence for the Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability (LUCID), Lund University, Sölvegatan 10, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden,

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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