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Operationalizing safe operating space for regional social-ecological systems

Operationalizing safe operating space for regional social-ecological systems
Operationalizing safe operating space for regional social-ecological systems
This study makes a first attempt to operationalize the safe operating space concept at a regional scale by considering the complex dynamics (e.g. non-linearity, feedbacks, and interactions) within a systems dynamic model (SD). We employ the model to explore eight ‘what if’ scenarios based on well-known challenges (e.g. climate change) and current policy debates (e.g. subsidy withdrawal). The findings show that the social-ecological system in the Bangladesh delta may move beyond a safe operating space when a withdrawal of a 50% subsidy for agriculture is combined with the effects of a 2 oC temperature increase and sea level rise. Further reductions in upstream river discharge in the Ganges would push the system towards a dangerous zone once a 3.5 oC temperature increase was reached. The social- ecological system in Bangladesh delta may be operated within a safe space by: 1) managing feedback (e.g. by reducing production costs) and the slow biophysical variables (e.g. temperature, rainfall) to increase the long-term resilience, 2) negotiating for transboundary water resources , and 3) revising global policies (e.g. withdrawal of subsidy) that negatively impact at regional scales. This study demonstrates how the concepts of tipping points, limits to adaptations, and boundaries for sustainable development may be defined in real world social-ecological systems.
0048-9697
673-682
Sohel, Md Sarwar Hossain
f50c61d1-1e6f-4117-8990-f1c5bc90e611
Dearing, John
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Amoako Johnson, Fiifi
e348fd15-9fe2-472f-a701-2980b8cec4d5
Sohel, Md Sarwar Hossain
f50c61d1-1e6f-4117-8990-f1c5bc90e611
Dearing, John
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Amoako Johnson, Fiifi
e348fd15-9fe2-472f-a701-2980b8cec4d5

Sohel, Md Sarwar Hossain, Dearing, John, Eigenbrod, Felix and Amoako Johnson, Fiifi (2017) Operationalizing safe operating space for regional social-ecological systems. Science of the Total Environment, 584-585, 673-682. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.095).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This study makes a first attempt to operationalize the safe operating space concept at a regional scale by considering the complex dynamics (e.g. non-linearity, feedbacks, and interactions) within a systems dynamic model (SD). We employ the model to explore eight ‘what if’ scenarios based on well-known challenges (e.g. climate change) and current policy debates (e.g. subsidy withdrawal). The findings show that the social-ecological system in the Bangladesh delta may move beyond a safe operating space when a withdrawal of a 50% subsidy for agriculture is combined with the effects of a 2 oC temperature increase and sea level rise. Further reductions in upstream river discharge in the Ganges would push the system towards a dangerous zone once a 3.5 oC temperature increase was reached. The social- ecological system in Bangladesh delta may be operated within a safe space by: 1) managing feedback (e.g. by reducing production costs) and the slow biophysical variables (e.g. temperature, rainfall) to increase the long-term resilience, 2) negotiating for transboundary water resources , and 3) revising global policies (e.g. withdrawal of subsidy) that negatively impact at regional scales. This study demonstrates how the concepts of tipping points, limits to adaptations, and boundaries for sustainable development may be defined in real world social-ecological systems.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 January 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 January 2017
Published date: 15 April 2017
Organisations: Palaeoenvironment Laboratory (PLUS)

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 404966
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404966
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: 57e2c7ca-d2f4-4874-a6a7-6c4abac7cc93
ORCID for John Dearing: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1466-9640
ORCID for Felix Eigenbrod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8982-824X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jan 2017 14:34
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:58

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Contributors

Author: Md Sarwar Hossain Sohel
Author: John Dearing ORCID iD
Author: Felix Eigenbrod ORCID iD
Author: Fiifi Amoako Johnson

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