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Selection: Scheffer:M [5 articles] 

Publications by author Scheffer:M.
 

Fire forbids fifty-fifty forest

  
PLOS ONE, Vol. 13, No. 1. (19 January 2018), e0191027, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191027

Abstract

Recent studies have interpreted patterns of remotely sensed tree cover as evidence that forest with intermediate tree cover might be unstable in the tropics, as it will tip into either a closed forest or a more open savanna state. Here we show that across all continents the frequency of wildfires rises sharply as tree cover falls below ~40%. Using a simple empirical model, we hypothesize that the steepness of this pattern causes intermediate tree cover (30‒60%) to be unstable for a ...

 

Creating a safe operating space for iconic ecosystems

  
Science, Vol. 347, No. 6228. (20 March 2015), pp. 1317-1319, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaa3769

Abstract

Although some ecosystem responses to climate change are gradual, many ecosystems react in highly nonlinear ways. They show little response until a threshold or tipping point is reached where even a small perturbation may trigger collapse into a state from which recovery is difficult (1). Increasing evidence shows that the critical climate level for such collapse may be altered by conditions that can be managed locally. These synergies between local stressors and climate change provide potential opportunities for proactive management. Although ...

 

The forgotten half of scientific thinking.

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 111, No. 17. (29 April 2014), pp. 6119-6119, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1404649111

Abstract

[Excerpt] Although thinking is the core business of scientists, we rarely ponder how it thrives best; this is ironic, as there is abundant scientific insight to draw upon. For example, it is now known that thinking has two complementary modes: roughly, association versus reasoning (1). We systematically underestimate the role of the first (1), and the way our institutions, meetings, and teaching are organized heavily reflects this imbalance. By contrast, many of the greatest scientists systematically nurtured a balanced dual-thinking process. ...

 

Multiscale regime shifts and planetary boundaries

  
Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 28, No. 7. (1 July 2013), pp. 389-395, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2013.05.019

Abstract

"The history of life reveals repeated planetary-scale tipping points."The pace of global changes is often slow even after a tipping point is exceeded."The risk of long-term damage to Earth systems that support humanity is increasing."Planetary-scale governance is needed to safeguard humans and ecosystems. Life on Earth has repeatedly displayed abrupt and massive changes in the past, and there is no reason to expect that comparable planetary-scale regime shifts will not continue in the future. Different lines of evidence indicate that regime ...

 

The Anthropocene: from global change to planetary stewardship

  
AMBIO, Vol. 40, No. 7. (12 October 2011), pp. 739-761, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-011-0185-x

Abstract

Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet’s capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival ...

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