Approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere

Back to previous page
Authors: Barnosky, AD; Hadly, EA; Bascompte, J; Berlow, EL; Brown, JH; Fortelius, M; Getz, WM; Harte, J; Hastings, A; Marquet, PA; Martinez, ND; Mooers, A; Roopnarine, P; Vermeij, G; Williams, JW; Gillespie, R; Kitzes, J; Marshall, C; Matzke, N; Mindell, DP; Revilla, E; Smith, AB
Year: 2012
Journal: Nature 486: 52-58   Article Link (DOI)
Title: Approaching a state shift in Earth's biosphere
Abstract: Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and is approaching a planetary-scale critical transition as a result of human influence. The plausibility of a planetary-scale 'tipping point' highlights the need to improve biological forecasting by detecting early warning signs of critical transitions on global as well as local scales, and by detecting feedbacks that promote such transitions. It is also necessary to address root causes of how humans are forcing biological changes.
Back to previous page

Departmental members may update their publication list.