Center for Life Ethics
Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 7
D-53113 Bonn


+49 228 73 66100

Research Area Transformation and Governance

Stefan Partelow


Stefan Partelow studied environmental studies and sustainability science at UC Santa Barbara, USA and Lund University, Sweden. His Doctoral Thesis with the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen examined the governance of environmental common pool resources and public goods, with a focus on oceans and coastal systems. His research explores how to make governing environmental commons more effective, which requires understanding how people and nature are connected in context specific ways, shaping what types of rules and norms work for governance locally. Stefan has more than 40 publications on environmental governance and currently leads the ‘Transformations’ group at the Center for Life Ethics. 



Center for Life Ethics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 7

53113 Bonn


Academic Background


Ph.D., Political Science, Jacobs University           



Master of Science, Environmental Studies & Sustainability Science, Lund University



Bachelor of Arts, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), USA

Curriculum Vitae

Since 2023

Senior Research Fellow, Center for Life Ethics, University of Bonn        


2020 - 2022

Research fellow, Bosch Postdoctoral Academy for Transformational Leadership


Since 2019

Co-founder/ co-host, In Common Podcast


2018 - 2022

Postdoctoral researcher, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)


2015 - 2018

Ph.D. researcher, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZM7)



Researcher, Greenpeace International


2011 - 2012

Research assistant, Heal the Bay, Los Angeles, USA



Peer-reviewed journal publications

  • Partelow S, Villamayor-Tomas S, Eisenack K, Epstein G, Kellner E, Roggero M,  Tschopp M. A meta-analysis of SES framework case studies: identifying dyad and triad archetypes. People and Nature. 2004.

  • 2023 OA Cox, M. Harrison, H. Partelow, S. Curtis, S. et al. How can academic podcasting change academia and its relationship with society? A conversation and guide. Frontiers in Communication.
  • 2023 OA Partelow, S. What is a framework? Reflections on their purpose, challenges, development and use. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.
  • 2023 OA Eufemia, L. Wawrzynowicz, I. Bonatti, M. Partelow, S. Fischer, J. Sieber, S. Governing Landscapes: An Agenda for the Assessment of Grasslands and Savannahs. Frontiers in Sustainable Resource Management. 10.3389/fsrma.2023.1134393
  • 2023 OA Partelow, S; Nagel, B; Paramita, A.O. Buhari, N. Seafood consumption changes and COVID-19 impact index in West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Plos One
  • 2022 OA Stäbler, M; Letschert, J; Fujitani, M; Partelow, S. Fish grabbing: weak governance and productive waters are targets for distant water fishing. Plos One.
  • 2023 OA Manlosa, A. Partelow, S. Reichers, M. Jiren, T. Paramita, AO. The role of institutions in food system transformations: lessons learned from transdisciplinary engagements in Ethiopia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Ecosystems and People.
  • 2022 OA Nagel, B; Partelow, S. A methodological guide for applying the SES framework: a review of quantitative approaches. Ecology and Society.
  • 2022 OA Partelow, S; Fujitani, M; Robbe, D; Williams, S; Saputra, RA. Disaster impacts, resilience, and sustainability opportunities for Gili Trawangan, Indonesia: transdisciplinary reflections following COVID-19. Disasters. doi:10.1111/disa.12554
  • 2022 OA Partelow, S; Manlosa, AO. Commoning the governance: a review of literature and the integration of power. Sustainability Science.
  • 2021 OA Eider, D; Partelow, S; Albrecht, S; Adrianto, L; Kluger, L. SCUBA tourism and coral reefs: a social-ecological network analysis of governance challenges in Indonesia. Current Issues in Tourism.
  • 2021 OA Partelow, S. Schlüter, A; Manlosa, A; Nagel, B; Paramita, A.O. Governing aquaculture commons. Reviews in Aquaculture.
  • 2021 OA Partelow, S; Jäger, A; Schlüter, A. The role of perceptions in environmental governance: Linking the social-ecological systems framework with perception categories in a Costa Rican fishery. Human Ecology.
  • 2021 OA Nelson, K; Partelow, S; Stäbler, M; Graci, S; Fujitani, M. Tourist acceptance of price premiums for local green hotel certification. PLOS One. pone.0245953
  • 2021 Murunga, M; Partelow, S; Breckwoldt, A. Drivers of collective action and role of conflict in Kenyan fisheries co-management. World Development. 10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105413
  • 2021 OA Nelson, K; Bauer, M; Partelow, S. Informational nudges to encourage pro-environmental behavior: examining differences in message framing and human interaction. Frontiers in Communication. 10.3389/fcomm.2020.610186
  • 2020 OA Partelow, S; Schlüter, A; Sousa, L; Le Tessier, M; Vaidianu, N; Pittman, J; Armitage, D; Carlisle, K; Gruby, R; Song, A; van Assche, K; Hornidge, A-K; Bavinck, M. Environmental governance theories: a review and application to coastal systems. Ecology & Society
  • 2020 OA Partelow, S. Social capital and community disaster resilience: Post-earthquake tourism recovery on Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. Sustainability Science.
  • 2020 OA Schlüter, A; Bavinck, M; Hadjimichael, M; Partelow, S; Ertör, I; Hornidge, A-K; Maas, F; Said, A; Unger, S. Broadening the perspective on ocean privatization. Ecology & Society.
  • 2020 Villamayor-Tomás, S; Cox, M; Epstein, G; Kellner, E; Oberlack, C; Partelow, S; Rogerro, M; Tschopp, M. Using case study data to understand SES interactions: a model-centered meta-analysis of SES Framework applications. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.
  • 2020 OA Barnett, A.J., Partelow, S, Frey, U, García-Lozano, A., Mancha-Cisneros, M.d.M., Oberlack, C., Ratajczyk, E., Smith, H., Villamayor-Tomás, S., Whitney, C.K. Defining success in the commons: addressing problem orientations, multidimensionality, norms, and tradeoffs. International Journal of the Commons.
  • 2020 OA Partelow, S; Winkler, KJ; Thaler, G. Environmental non-governmental organizations and global environmental discourse. PLoS ONE 15 (5): e0232945. pone.0232945
  • 2020 Partelow, S; Seara, T; Pollnac, R; Ruiz, V. Job satisfaction in small-scale fisheries: Comparing differences between Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Marine Policy. 117(103949)
  • 2020 OA Partelow, S; Hornidge, A-K; Senff, P; Stäbler, M; Schlüter, A. Tropical marine sciences: Knowledge production in a web of path dependencies. PLOS One. 15(2): e0228613.
  • 2019 OA Partelow, S; Abson, D; Schlüter, A; von Wehrden, H; Fernandez-Gimenez, M; Collier, N. Privatizing the commons: New approaches need broader evaluative criteria for sustainability. Intl Journal of the Commons. 13: 706–747. http://doi:10.18352/ijc.777
  •  2019 OA Chavez, I; Partelow, S; Schlüter, A. Do responsible fishing areas work? Comparing collective action challenges in three small-scale fisheries in Costa Rica. Intl Journal of the Commons 13: 748–777.
  • 2019 Nelson, K; Partelow, S; Schlüter, A; Vance, C.  Nudging tourists to donate for conservation: Experimental evidence on soliciting voluntary contributions for coastal management. Journal of Environmental Management. 237: 30-43.
  • 2019 OA Partelow, S; Fujitani, M; Soundararajan, V; Schlüter, S. Transforming a social-ecological systems framework into a participatory management and stakeholder deliberation tool. Ecology and Society 24(1):15.
  • 2018 OA Partelow, S. A review of the social-ecological systems (SES) framework: Applications, methods, modifications and challenges. Ecology & Society 23(4):36.
  • 2018 OA Partelow, S; Solano, S; Glaser, M; Schlüter, A. Mangroves, fishers and the struggle for adaptive co-management: Applying the social-ecological systems framework to a Marine Extractive Reserve (RESEX) in Brazil. Ecology & Society.
  • 2018 Partelow, S; Nelson, K. Social networks, collective action and the evolution of governance for sustainable tourism on the Gili Islands, Indonesia. Marine Policy
  • 2018 Senff, P; Partelow, S; Indriana, L; Buhari, N; Kunzmann, A.  Improving Pond Aquaculture Production on Lombok, Indonesia. Aquaculture. 
  • 2018 OA Partelow, S; Senff, P; Schlüter, A; Buhari, N. Operationalizing the social-ecological systems framework to pond aquaculture. International Journal of the Commons (12) 1. 485-518.
  • 2017 OA Partelow, S; Schlüter, A; von Wehrden, H; Janig, M; Senff, S. A sustainability agenda for tropical marine science. Conservation Letters.
  • 2016 OA Partelow, S; Winkler, K.J. Interlinking ecosystem services and Ostrom’s framework through orientation in sustainability research. Ecology & Society (21).
  • 2016 Partelow, S. Coevolving Ostrom’s social–ecological systems (SES) framework and sustainability science: four key co-benefits. Sustainability Science(11),399–410. doi:10.1007/s11625-015-0351-3
  • 2015 Partelow, S; Boda, C. A modified diagnostic social-ecological system framework for lobster fisheries: Case implementation and sustainability assessment in Southern California. Ocean & Coastal Management. 114, 204–217. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2015.06.022
  • 2015 Partelow, S; von Wehrden, H; Horn, O. Pollution exposure on marine protected areas: A global assessment. Marine Pollution Bulletin. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.08.026
  • 2015 Partelow, S. Key steps for operationalizing social–ecological system framework research in small-scale fisheries: A heuristic conceptual approach. Marine Policy (51) 507–511. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2014.09.005
  • 2015 Partelow, S., Luederitz, C., Brink, E., Gralla, F., Hermelingermeier, V., Meyer, M., Niven, L., Panzer, L., Rau, A.-L., Sasaki, R., Abson, D.J., Lang, D.J., Wamsler, C., von Wehrden, H. A review of urban ecosystem services: six key challenges for future research. Ecosystem Services (14) 98–112. doi:10.1016/S0921-8009(99)00013-0

Book chapters

  • In-press Partelow, S. Social capital in governance and sustainable development. Encyclopedia of Planning & Design. E. Elgar. Editor: van Assche, K.
  • 2023 OA Hornidge, A-K. Partelow, S. Knopf, K. Knowing the Ocean: Epistemic Inequalities in Patterns of Science Collaboration. In: Ocean Governance: Knowledge systems, Policy foundations and Thematic analyses. (eds Partelow, Hadjimichael, Hornidge). Springer MARE.
  • 2023 OA Partelow, S. Hadjimichael, M. Hornidge, A-K. Ocean Governance for Sustainability Transformation. In: Ocean Governance: Knowledge systems, Policy foundations and Thematic analyses. (eds Partelow, Hadjimichael, Hornidge). Springer MARE.
  • 2020 Partelow, S. Analyzing natural resource governance with the social-ecological systems framework. (Chapter 4 in Governing renewable natural resources: Theories and frameworks, Routledge, Editor: Fiona Nunan)
  • 2019 Schlüter, A. Partelow, S. Torres, LE. Jennerjahn, T. Coastal commons as social-ecological systems. (Chapter 14 in The Commons Handbook, Routledge, Editors: Hudson, B; Cole, D; Rosenbloom, J.)


  • 2018 Schlüter, A. Partelow, S. Fujitani, M. Coastal Systems in Transition: From a “natural” to an “anthropogenically-modified” state. Ocean and Coastal Management (Editorial to special issue). 162. 1-5. 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2018.05.001

Book reviews

  • 2020 Book review of Private Oceans: The Enclosure and Marketisation of the Seas, By Fiona McCormack, London, Pluto Press, 2017, 184 pp. ISBN: 978-0-7453-9910-2. Published in Journal of Maritime Research.

Ph.D. Thesis