Living dangerously on borrowed time during slow, unrecognized regime shifts

Hughes, Terry P., Linares, Christina, Dakos, Vasilis, van de Leemput, Ingrid A., and van Nes, Egbert H. (2013) Living dangerously on borrowed time during slow, unrecognized regime shifts. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 28 (3). pp. 149-155.

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Abstract

Regime shifts from one ecological state to another are often portrayed as sudden, dramatic, and difficult to reverse. Yet many regime shifts unfold slowly and imperceptibly after a tipping point has been exceeded, especially at regional and global scales. These long, smooth transitions between equilibrium states are easy to miss, ignore, or deny, confounding management and governance. However, slow responses by ecosystems after transgressing a dangerous threshold also affords borrowed time - a window of opportunity to return to safer conditions before the new state eventually locks in and equilibrates. In this context, the most important challenge is a social one: convincing enough people to confront business-as-usual before time runs out to reverse unwanted regime shifts even after they have already begun.

Item ID: 26788
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-8383
Keywords: thresholds, alternate stable states, regime shift, slow responses, transient dynamics, borrowed time, climate change, resilience
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Spanish Government , Netherlands Science Organisation (NWO), Ecoshape: Building with Nature, European Research Council (ERC)
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2013 11:12
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060311 Speciation and Extinction @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 100%
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