SYMP 10 - Advances in Research on Tipping Points in Social-Ecological Systems

Wednesday, August 10, 2016: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Grand Floridian Blrm B, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Elizabeth G. King, University of Georgia
Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, USDA Agricultural Research Service; and Ryan R. Unks, University of Georgia
Elizabeth G. King, University of Georgia
For decades, ecologists have sought to understand threshold behaviors, regime shifts, and resilience in ecological systems. Substantial progress has been made in addressing the theoretical and empirical research challenges these phenomena present. There is growing recognition, however, that social dynamics are integral to many of the processes and feedbacks that underlie ecological thresholds and tipping points. Indeed, many social systems – cultural, economic, and political – also display threshold behaviors. Such societal transformations can, in turn, lead to land use change, ecological transitions, and novel ecosystems. While many conceptual examples of social-ecological tipping points have been developed in recent years, quantitative approaches and empirical applications are relatively uncommon. New conceptual frameworks, research approaches, and models are needed to advance or understanding of coupled ecological and social dynamics. Towards meeting the need for a theoretically robust and operational science of sustainability, we will ask: What progress has been made in studying tipping points in coupled social-ecological systems? What research approaches are being used to develop social-ecological models, apply them to empirical case studies, and predict and manage social-ecological dynamics? This symposium brings together researchers analyzing the dynamics of coupled social-ecological systems and their implications for sustainability. The presentations will use diverse modes of inquiry to understand tipping points at a variety of scales (from specific landscapes to the globe) and using a variety of tools including field ecological studies and monitoring, structured interviews, historical reconstruction, and modeling. The symposium aims to showcase the diversity of innovative, successful approaches to understanding social-ecological tipping points, and inspire further creative research in this area. Recognizing that novel ecosystems may arise from both ecological and social thresholds, this research will be critical to understand and navigate the ecological challenges of the future.
8:00 AM
8:30 AM
 Tipping points in rangeland social-ecological systems of the Southwest US: Past and present
Brandon T. Bestelmeyer, USDA Agricultural Research Service; Kris M. Havstad, USDA Agricultural Research Service; Osvaldo E. Sala, Arizona State University; Nathan F. Sayre, University of California, Berkeley; Nicholas Webb, USDA ARS Jornada Experimental Range
9:00 AM
 Globalization of livestock and violin-bow production: How increasing cross-scale connectedness causes rise in thresholds in two contrasting social-ecological systems
Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica; Silke Lichtenberg, Cologne University of Applied Sciences; Juan Antonio Reyes Aguero, Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi; Udo Nehren, Cologne University of Applied Sciences
9:30 AM
9:40 AM
 Livelihood adaptation to climatic, ecological, and social transitions: Camel adoption among the Laikipia Maasai of Kenya
Gabriele Volpato, University of Georgia; Elizabeth G. King, University of Georgia
10:10 AM
 Using coupled ecosystem and household simulation models to link pastoral decision making and ecosystem services
Randall B. Boone, Colorado State University; Carolyn K. Lesorogol, Washington University
10:40 AM
 Regime shifts in the Anthropocene
Juan C. Rocha, Stockholm University
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