Such a switch can occur when a large shock (e.g. hurricane, political turbulence) or combination of shocks overwhelm the dominant system feedbacks. More commonly, a gradual change (e.g. habitat loss, accumulation of pollutants, emergent markets, changes in values) slowly erodes the strength of the dominant feedbacks until a threshold is reached at which a different set of feedbacks suddenly becomes dominant and the system rapidly reorganizes into a new regime (Biggs et al. in press, Folke et al. 2011).
The slow erosion of feedbacks usually goes unnoticed until the actual regime shift occurs — hence regime shifts often occur as a surprise (see illustration below).
Understanding of regime shifts is important for ecosystem governance as they often have substantial impacts on human economies and societies, tend to occur unexpectedly, and are difficult, expensive and sometimes impossible to reverse.
1. Regime shifts are typical features of SES, not rare, isolated phenomena.
2. Important regime shifts arise from the interaction of social and ecological factors.
3. Regime shifts in SES have large impacts on ecosystem services and human well-being.
4. Regime shifts may take the form of socialecological transformations.
5. Regime shifts are difficult to detect.
6. Managing regime shifts requires different approaches than managing more gradual social-ecological change.
Research news | 2017-08-19
Social innovation initiatives must be fit for the challenges of the Anthropocene
Research news | 2017-08-18
Collaborative governance not always fit for solving environmental problems, according to new review article in Science
Research news | 2017-08-14
Free online conference, Ecology and civilization , for young scholars happening from 14-18 August 2017. Stockholm Resilience Centre will host a session on 15 August at 16:30 (UTC)
Research news | 2017-08-08
Centre scientists and CEO’s of world largest seafood companies form coalition to turn seafood industry more sustainable. New PNAS study highlights the importance and process of science-business partnerships
Research news | 2017-08-03
New study looks at ecological compensation, a novel legal and policy instrument, and how Sweden is using it to balance development and conservation of important biological and social areas
General news | 2017-07-20
Initiative is the first time that companies from Asia, Europe and the US have come together with the aim to end unsustainable practices