Describing complex interactions of social-ecological systems for tipping point assessments

an analytical framework

verfasst von
Rebecca Froese, Alberto Andrino, Renzo Giudice, Benjamin Stuch, Simone Kilian Salas, Jürgen Böhner, Diana Boy, Jens Boy, Foster Brown, Elisa Díaz García, Diana Figueroa, Oliver Frör, Georg Guggenberger, Marcus A. Horn, Shabeh ul Hasson, Christopher Jung, Elisabeth G. Lagneaux, Katharina H.E. Meurer, Claudia Pinzón Cuellar, Rüdiger Schaldach, Sabina Cerruto Ribeiro, Janpeter Schilling, Fernando A. Schmidt, Regine Schönenberg, Galia Selaya, Claudia M. Vega, Vanessa M.S. Vetter, Miguel Villavicenio, Daniel Callo-Concha, Merel Jansen, Hermann F. Jungkunst

Humans play an interconnecting role in social-ecological systems (SES), they are part of these systems and act as agents of their destruction and regulation. This study aims to provide an analytical framework, which combines the concept of SES with the concept of tipping dynamics. As a result, we propose an analytical framework describing relevant dynamics and feedbacks within SES based on two matrixes: the “tipping matrix” and the “cross-impact matrix.” We take the Southwestern Amazon as an example for tropical regions at large and apply the proposed analytical framework to identify key underlying sub-systems within the study region: the soil ecosystem, the household livelihood system, the regional social system, and the regional climate system, which are interconnected through a network of feedbacks. We consider these sub-systems as tipping elements (TE), which when put under stress, can cross a tipping point (TP), resulting in a qualitative and potentially irreversible change of the respective TE. By systematically assessing linkages and feedbacks within and between TEs, our proposed analytical framework can provide an entry point for empirically assessing tipping point dynamics such as “tipping cascades,” which means that the crossing of a TP in one TE may force the tipping of another TE. Policy implications: The proposed joint description of the structure and dynamics within and across SES in respect to characteristics of tipping point dynamics promotes a better understanding of human-nature interactions and critical linkages within regional SES that may be used for effectively informing and directing empirical tipping point assessments, monitoring or intervention purposes. Thereby, the framework can inform policy-making for enhancing the resilience of regional SES.

Institut für Mikrobiologie
Institut für Bodenkunde
Externe Organisation(en)
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU)
Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU)
Friedensakademie Rheinland-Pfalz
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Universität Kassel
Universität Hamburg
Woodwell Climate Research Center
Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin)
Wageningen University and Research
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Universidade Federal do Acre
ECOS Consult
Centro de Innovación Científica Amazónica (CINCIA)
ACEAA Conservación Amazónica
University of Bern
Frontiers in Climate
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Globaler Wandel, Umweltwissenschaften (sonstige), Umweltverschmutzung, Atmosphärenwissenschaften, Management, Monitoring, Politik und Recht
Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung
SDG 13 – Klimaschutzmaßnahmen
Elektronische Version(en) (Zugang: Offen)