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Limits and thresholds: Setting global, local and regional safe operating spaces

Limits and thresholds: Setting global, local and regional safe operating spaces
Limits and thresholds: Setting global, local and regional safe operating spaces
Where ecosystem processes and human livelihoods are intimately linked, within a social-ecological system, feedback mechanisms and thresholds may combine to deliver rapid changes in key processes and conditions. The science of ‘systems’ and the related ‘resilience-thinking’ for management offer the best means to address the challenge of anticipating and managing the unpredictability of global change. Summarising the science that underpins current understanding of limits, thresholds, tipping points, early warning signals and safe operating spaces at global, regional and local scales, this chapter reviews studies from the ESPA Programme and from wider research to highlight the attention already given to these concepts, and the extent to which they have been successfully applied in real-world development situations. While more research is needed to define social-ecological trajectories in terms of the risk of transgressing dangerous limits, the chapter reveals, based on the available evidence, that some developing regions are crossing local thresholds and moving uncontrollably out of ‘safe spaces’ into new and undesirable system configurations where they may lack the ability to support livelihoods or the resilience to withstand changes in climate or social pressures.
55-73
Routledge
Dearing, John
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Schreckenberg, Kate
Mace, Georgina
Poudyal, Mahesh
Dearing, John
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Schreckenberg, Kate
Mace, Georgina
Poudyal, Mahesh

Dearing, John (2018) Limits and thresholds: Setting global, local and regional safe operating spaces. In, Schreckenberg, Kate, Mace, Georgina and Poudyal, Mahesh (eds.) Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation: Trade-offs and Governance. (Routledge Studies in Ecosystem Services) 1st ed. London. Routledge, pp. 55-73. (doi:10.4324/9780429507090).

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

Where ecosystem processes and human livelihoods are intimately linked, within a social-ecological system, feedback mechanisms and thresholds may combine to deliver rapid changes in key processes and conditions. The science of ‘systems’ and the related ‘resilience-thinking’ for management offer the best means to address the challenge of anticipating and managing the unpredictability of global change. Summarising the science that underpins current understanding of limits, thresholds, tipping points, early warning signals and safe operating spaces at global, regional and local scales, this chapter reviews studies from the ESPA Programme and from wider research to highlight the attention already given to these concepts, and the extent to which they have been successfully applied in real-world development situations. While more research is needed to define social-ecological trajectories in terms of the risk of transgressing dangerous limits, the chapter reveals, based on the available evidence, that some developing regions are crossing local thresholds and moving uncontrollably out of ‘safe spaces’ into new and undesirable system configurations where they may lack the ability to support livelihoods or the resilience to withstand changes in climate or social pressures.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 27 April 2018
Published date: May 2018
Additional Information: Chapter 4

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420444
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420444
PURE UUID: dc693eb0-0ac7-470e-9657-04a8b03d7b08
ORCID for John Dearing: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1466-9640

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Date deposited: 08 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:48

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Contributors

Author: John Dearing ORCID iD
Editor: Kate Schreckenberg
Editor: Georgina Mace
Editor: Mahesh Poudyal

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