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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: August 2012

17 - The HES framework

from VIII - A framework for investigating human–environment systems (HES)


Chapter overview

In the spirit of cultivating environmental literacy we present the human–environment systems (HES) framework as a practical way to cope with the complexity of human–environment relationships. Its design and our suggestions for its use assume that most environmental problems are caused largely by human activities, a view that could be called the anthropocenic redefinition of the environment.

Our unveiling of the HES framework describes how it is a structure–process template or methodological guide for research about HES. The HES framework highlights how the HES Postulates offer principles that foster a comprehensive analysis of HES.

Next we describe how the HES framework offers principles for environmental research and transdisciplinary processes. After an initial phase of formulating a guiding question and defining system boundaries, a first step is to conduct an analysis of the environmental situation (as stated by the Environment-first Postulate P7), which is a typical subject of transdisciplinary processes.