COS 107-7 - Synchronized peak-rate years of global resources use

Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 3:40 PM
B110-111, Oregon Convention Center
Ralf Seppelt, Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany, Ameur Manceur, Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Leipzig, Germany, Jianguo 'Jack' Liu, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, Eli P. Fenichel, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ and Stefan Klotz, Department of Community Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
Background/Question/Methods: Many separate studies have estimated the year of peak, or maximum, rate of using an individual resource such as oil. However, no study has estimated the year of peak rate for multiple resources and investigated the relationships among them. We exploit time series on the appropriation of 27 global renewable and non-renewable resources. To test the hypothesis that peak-rate years are synchronized, i.e., occur at approximately the same time, we analyzed 20 statistically independent time series of resources.

Results/Conclusions: We found 21 resources experienced a peak-rate year, and for 20 resources the peak-rate years occurred between 1960-2010, a narrow time window in the long human history. Whereas 4 of 7 nonrenewable resources show no peak-rate year, conversion to cropland and 18 of the 20 renewable resources have passed their peak rate of appropriation, of which 16 presented a peak-rate year centered on 2006 (1989-2008). We discuss potential causal mechanisms including change in demand, innovation and adaptation, interdependent use of resources, physical limitation, and simultaneous scarcity. The synchrony of peak-rate years of multiple resources poses a greater adaptation challenge for society than previously recognized, suggesting the need for a paradigm shift in resource use toward a sustainable path in the Anthropocene.