Wednesday 7
Analysing and managing social-ecological regime shifts
Steven Lade
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
› Antigone 3
Detecting Tipping Points in Social-Ecological Systems
Vasilis Dakos  1@  , Andries Richter  2@  
1 : Estacion Biologica de Donana, CSIC  -  Website
2 : University of Oslo  (UiO)  -  Website
P.O 1072 Blindern 0316 Oslo -  Norvège

A common pattern of environmental crises is a vicious cycle between environmental degradation and socio-economic disturbances. For example, environmental changes may drive fish stocks to a low productive regime that can lead to sudden losses in the livelihoods of coastal communities. This ecological transition in turn erodes social institutions, such as social norms of cooperation, with cascading pressure on the resource base. Here we show that while such feedbacks may give rise to critical transitions in social-ecological systems, at the same time they can offer novel opportunities for anticipating them. We model a community that has joint access to the harvest grounds of a resource that is prone to collapse. Individuals are tempted to overexploit the resource, while a cooperative harvesting norm spreads through the community via interpersonal relations. Both social and ecological collapses can be induced by environmental and socio-economic driving forces. Regardless of the type and cause of collapse we find that upcoming transitions may be detected using simple socio-economic response variables, such as individual profits. Our findings suggest that social-ecological systems not only hide vulnerabilities to collapse as changes spread from one system to the other, but that they may also provide alternative sources of information that can be used to detect upcoming critical transitions.


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