Global Change Drivers of Regime Shifts
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abrupt ecological changes or regime shifts have been identified in many ecosystems, but there has been no systemic review to compare regime shifts and their drivers. We use network analysis to perform a comparative analysis of relationships among global change drivers and major ecological regime shifts. We assembled a database of 20 regime shifts and their drivers that spans marine, terrestrial and polar ecosystems. Our analysis reveals that regime shifts typically have multiple drivers (ranging from 2 to 19 in our dataset) that interact in a structured fashion: only 11 drivers cause from 25-60% of the regime shifts and interact with 50-85% of other drivers. Of the 55 drivers recorded, 11 drivers cause 25-60% of the regime shifts and interact with 50-85% of other drivers. Drivers related to agricultural activities and climate change are the most frequent drivers of regime shifts. Although equally important, indirect drivers seem to be underreported. We find that regime shifts in marine systems operate at similar scales due to similar feedback processes, while terrestrial regime shifts occur across a wider range of scales and are more context dependent. Regime shifts differ greatly in the scales at which their drivers can be managed, but most regime shifts are at least partially driven by global change drivers which cannot be managed locally, highlighting the importance of new scale-bridging polycentric approaches to avoid unwanted regime shifts.
critical transitions, networks, dynamic tipping points
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use Environmental Sciences Ecology
Research subject Sustainability Science; Systems Ecology; Systems Analysis
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90070OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-90070DiVA: diva2:622433