Carl Folke is a systems thinker in integrative science for sustainability, recognized for his work on social-ecological systems, resilience thinking and biosphere stewardship. He is Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and founder and Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden. He has degrees in both economics and ecology, defended his PhD 1990 on the role of life-supporting ecosystems for social and economic development and became full professor 1996 in natural resource management. He is among the founders of the Resilience Alliance, has been involved in e.g. the development of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) and the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS). Folke has a long record of science, policy and practice collaboration, working with key actors from local landscapes in Sweden to international bodies and enterprises. He has served as advisor to several research institutes in e.g. the Europe, USA, Japan, and Canada. He started an institute for science communication in the late 1990s and is genuinely engaged in the arts-science interface. He is member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Carl Folke's work emphasizes that humans and our societies are embedded parts of the biosphere dependent on its life-supporting ecosystems, while simultaneously shaping them from local to global scales and from the past into the future. Since the mid-1980s he has broken new grounds in understanding the dynamic interplay of humans and nature, of economy and ecology, and developed research on social-ecological systems and resilience thinking from management and stewardship of ecosystem services in the seas and on the land to global sustainability. His work has illustrated how progress, prosperity and wellbeing will benefit from reconnecting development to the biosphere.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Secondary Section

Section 64: Human Environmental Sciences