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What is the evidence for planetary tipping points?


Brook, BW and Ellis, EC and Buettel, JC, What is the evidence for planetary tipping points?, Effective Conservation Science: Data Not Dogma, Oxford University Press, P Kareiva, M Marvier, B Silliman (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 51-57. ISBN 9780198808978 (2018) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Oxford University Press

DOI: doi:10.1093/oso/9780198808978.003.0008


As living standards, technological capacities, and human welfare have continued to improve, concerns have mounted about possible natural limits to economic and population growth. Climate change, habitat loss, and recent extinctions are examples of impacts on natural systems that have been used as markers of global environmental degradation associated with the expanding influence of humans (Barnosky et al., 2012; McGill et al., 2015). Past civilizations have faced rapid declines and even collapsed in the face of regional environmental degradation, drought, and other environmental challenges (Scheffer, 2016; Butzer and Endfield, 2012). This begs the question of whether long-term societal relationships with the planetís ecology may be approaching a global tipping point as the human population hurtles toward ten billion people. If this is indeed the case, the future of both biodiversity and humanity hangs in the balance. The hypothesis is that without urgent action to prevent reaching a global tipping point, the natural life support systems that sustain humanity may fail abruptly, with drastic consequences.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:planetary boundaries, global tipping points, earth system, safe operating space, state transitions, anthropogenic impact
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Other biological sciences
Research Field:Global change biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
UTAS Author:Buettel, JC (Dr Jessie Buettel)
ID Code:122674
Year Published:2018
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FL160100101)
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2017-11-22
Last Modified:2019-03-28
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