Although some ecosystem responses to climate change are gradual, many ecosystems react in highly non-linear ways. They show little response until a threshold or tipping point isreached where even a small perturbation may trigger collapse into a state from which recovery is difficult. Increasing evidence shows that the critical climate level for such collapse may be altered by conditions that can be managed locally. These synergies between local stressors and climate change provide potential opportunities for pro-active management.
Although their clarity and scale make such local approaches more conducive to action than global greenhouse gas management, crises in iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites illustrate that such stewardship is at risk of failing. The term “safe operating space” frames the problem of managing our planet in terms of staying within acceptable levels or “boundaries” for global stressors.
Uncertainty is accounted for by keeping on the safe side of such boundaries. The safe levels of different stressors at global scales are mostly considered independently. However, in ecosystems a safe level for one stressor is often strongly dependent of the level of other stressors. This implies that if such synergies are understood, local stressors may be effectively managed to enhance tolerance to global climate change.
Research news | 2018-07-10
The World in 2050 initiative launches new report outlining synergies and benefits that render the goals achievable
Educational news | 2018-07-02
LEAP our leadership programme designed for changemakers that want to lead social-ecological transformations to sustainability. Application deadline is 5 August 2018.
Research news | 2018-06-27
Overfishing, fractured international relationships and political conflicts loom as fish migrate more unpredictably because of climate change. Here is how to deal with it
Research news | 2018-06-26
Profit-maximizing approaches are most likely to produce outcomes that harm people or the environment. But it depends on the circumstances whether a sustainable or a safe approach is most suitable, new study argues
General news | 2018-06-20
Will lead a redesign of the organisational structure at the centre
Research news | 2018-06-20
New book chapter looks into the economic, cultural and ecological reasons why some people leave the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and what could be done to reverse the trend