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Does the terrestrial biosphere have planetary tipping points?


Brook, BW and Ellis, EC and Perring, MP and Mackay, AW and Blomqvist, L, Does the terrestrial biosphere have planetary tipping points?, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 28, (7) pp. 396-401. ISSN 0169-5347 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.tree.2013.01.016


Tipping points where systems shift radically and potentially irreversibly into a different state have received considerable attention in ecology. Although there is convincing evidence that human drivers can cause regime shifts at local and regional scales, the increasingly invoked concept of planetary scale tipping points in the terrestrial biosphere remains unconfirmed. By evaluating potential mechanisms and drivers, we conclude that spatial heterogeneity in drivers and responses, and lack of strong continental interconnectivity, probably induce relatively smooth changes at the global scale, without an expectation of marked tipping patterns. This implies that identifying critical points along global continua of drivers might be unfeasible and that characterizing global biotic change with single aggregates is inapt.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Other biological sciences
Research Field:Global change biology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Sustainability indicators
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:97928
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:143
Deposited By:Biological Sciences
Deposited On:2015-01-21
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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