Critical Transitions in Nature and Society:

Critical Transitions in Nature and Society:

by Marten Scheffer
     
 

"This is an important book. Critical transitions and resilience are powerful explanatory tools in ecology today, and it is significant that Scheffer, the leading expert in the applications of critical transitions in ecology, has written a monograph in this area. Scheffer is an excellent writer, and a very good expositor of theoretical concepts in ecology. The ideas

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Overview

"This is an important book. Critical transitions and resilience are powerful explanatory tools in ecology today, and it is significant that Scheffer, the leading expert in the applications of critical transitions in ecology, has written a monograph in this area. Scheffer is an excellent writer, and a very good expositor of theoretical concepts in ecology. The ideas in this book should be part of every educated person's mental framework."—Donald L. DeAngelis, University of Miami

"This is a timely book that will have considerable impact on multiple disciplines, including ecology, the social sciences, and economics. It focuses on the theory, examples, and implications of complex systems, particularly critical transitions resulting from positive feedbacks. Scheffer has always been a master at presenting complex issues in a simple way, and this book is no exception. This is a rare gem."—Jon Norberg, Stockholm University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691122045
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/06/2009
Series:
Princeton Studies in Complexity Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

1.1 Coral Reef Collapse 2

1.2 The Birth of the Sahara Desert 3

1.3 Shifts in Societies 5

1.4 Content of this Book 6

Part I Theory of Critical Transitions

Chapter 2 Alternative Stable States 11

2.1 The Basics 13

2.2 Some Mechanisms 25

2.3 Synthesis 36

Chapter 3 Cycles and Chaos 37

3.1 The Limit Cycle 37

3.2 Complex Dynamics 42

3.3 Basin Boundary Collision 50

3.4 Synthesis 54

Chapter 4 Emergent Patterns in Complex Systems 55

4.1 Spatial Patterns 56

4.2 Stability of Complex Interacting Networks 65

4.3 The Adaptive Cycle Theory 75

4.4 Synthesis 79

Chapter 5 Implications of Fluctuations, Heterogeneity, and Diversity 81

5.1 Permanent Change 82

5.2 Spatial Heterogeneity and Modularity 85

5.3 Diversity of Players 90

5.4 Synthesis 95

Chapter 6 Conclusion: From Theoretical Concepts to Reality 96

6.1 Alternative Stable States 96

6.2 Basins of Attraction 98

6.3 Resilience 101

6.4 Adaptive Capacity 103

6.5 Critical Transitions 104

6.6 Synthesis 104

Part II Case Studies

Chapter 7 Lakes 109

7.1 Transparency of Shallow Lakes 110

7.2 Dynamics 125

7.3 Other Alternative Stable States 131

7.4 Synthesis 138

Chapter 8 Climate 139

8.1 Deep Time Climate Shifts 141

8.2 Glaciation Cycles 149

8.3 Abrupt Climate Change on Shorter Timescales 157

8.4 Synthesis 164

Chapter 9 Evolution 166

9.1 Introduction 166

9.2 Early Animal Evolution and the Cambrian Explosion 168

9.3 The End-Permian Extinction 172

9.4 The Angiosperm Radiation 174

9.5 From Dinosaurs to Mammals 176

9.6 Global Warming and the Birth of Primates, Deer, and Horses 177

9.7 In Search of the Big Picture178

9.8 Synthesis 184

Chapter 10 Oceans 186

10.1 Open Ocean Regime Shifts 187

10.2 Coastal Ecosystems 201

10.3 Synthesis 213

Chapter 11 Terrestrial Ecosystems 216

11.1 Vegetation-Climate Shifts in Dry Regions 216

11.2 Small-Scale Transitions in Semiarid Vegetation 221

11.3 Boreal Forests and Tundra 226

11.4 The Rise and Fall of Raised Bogs 230

11.5 Species Extinction in Fragmented Landscapes 234

11.6 Epidemics as Critical Transitions 237

11.7 Synthesis 239

Chapter 12 Humans 240

12.1 Shifting Cells 242

12.2 Shifting Minds 243

12.3 Behavioral Lock-In 244

12.4 Inertia and Shifts in Group Attitudes 246

12.5 Societies in Crisis 250

12.6 Synthesis 257

Chapter 13 Conclusion: Critical Transitions In a Complex World 259

Part III Dealing with Critical Transitions

Chapter 14 How to Know if Alternative Basins of Attraction Exist 265

14.1 Hints from Field Data 265

14.2 Experimental Evidence 270

14.3 Mechanistic Insight 273

14.4 Synthesis 280

Chapter 15 How to Know If a Threshold Is Near 282

15.1 The Theory: Signs of Upcoming Transitions 283

15.2 Precursors of Transitions in Real Systems 290

15.3 Reliability of the Signals 293

15.4 Synthesis 294

Chapter 16 The Winding Road from Science to Policy 296

16.1 Exploiting Nature in the Smartest Way 297

16.2 Barriers to Good Solutions 303

16.3 Synthesis 309

Chapter 17 New Approaches to Managing Change 311

17.1 Promoting Good Transitions 312

17.2 Preventing Bad Transitions 320

17.3 Synthesis 324

Chapter 18 Prospects 326

18.1 The Delicate Issue of the Burden of Proof 326

18.2 Toward a Practical Science of Critical Transitions 327

Appendix 329

A.1 Logistic Growth 329

A.2 Allee Effect 332

A.3 Overexploitation 332

A.4 Competition between Two Species 334

A.5 Multispecies Competition 338

A.6 Predator-Prey Cycles 339

A.7 The Hopf Bifurcation 341

A.8 Stabilization by Spatial Heterogeneity 341

A.9 Basin Boundary Collision 344

A.10 Periodic Forcing 344

A.11 Self-Organized Patterns 345

A.12 Alternative Stable States in Shallow Lakes 347

A.13 Floating Plants 348

A.14 Contingency in Behavior 350

Glossary 353

Notes 359

Index 379

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