Navigation Links
Global tipping point not backed by science: Study
Date:2/28/2013

A group of international ecological scientists led by the University of Adelaide have rejected a doomsday-like scenario of sudden, irreversible change to the Earth's ecology.

In a paper published today in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, the scientists from Australia, US and UK argue that global-scale ecological tipping points are unlikely and that ecological change over large areas seem to follow a more gradual, smooth pattern.

This opposes recent efforts to define 'planetary tipping points' ‒ critical levels of biodiversity loss or land-use change that would have global effect ‒ with important implications for science and policy-makers.

"This is good news because it says that we might avoid the doom-and-gloom scenario of abrupt, irreversible change," says Professor Barry Brook, lead author of the paper and Director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide. "A focus on planetary tipping points may both distract from the vast ecological transformations that have already occurred, and lead to unjustified fatalism about the catastrophic effects of tipping points.

"An emphasis on a point of no return is not particularly helpful for bringing about the conservation action we need. We must continue to seek to reduce our impacts on the global ecology without undue attention on trying to avoid arbitrary thresholds."

A tipping point occurs when an ecosystem attribute such as species abundance or carbon sequestration responds rapidly and possibly irreversibly to a human pressure like land-use change or climate change.

Many local and regional-level ecosystems, such as lakes and grasslands, are known to behave this way. A planetary tipping point, the authors suggest, could theoretically occur if ecosystems across Earth respond in similar ways to the same human pressures, or if there are strong connections between continents that allow for rapid diffusion of impacts across the planet.

"These criteria, however, are very unlikely to be met in the real world," says Professor Brook. "First, ecosystems on different continents are not strongly connected. Second, the responses of ecosystems to human pressures like climate change or land-use change depend on local circumstances and will therefore differ between localities."

The scientists examined four principal drivers of terrestrial ecosystem change ‒ climate change, land-use change, habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss ‒ and found they were unlikely to induce global tipping points.

Co-author Associate Professor Erle Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, says: "As much as four fifths of the biosphere is today characterised by ecosystems that locally, over centuries and millennia, have undergone human-driven regime shifts of one or more kinds. Recognising this reality and seeking appropriate conservation efforts at local and regional levels might be a more fruitful way forward for ecology and global change science."


'/>"/>
Contact: Professor Barry Brook
barry.brook@adelaide.edu.au
61-420-958-400
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Global surveys show environmental concerns rank low among public concerns
2. Jurassic records warn of risk to marine life from global warming
3. Meeting: Project aims to predict yield potential to help global food security
4. EU BON: Working towards integrated and comprehensive global biodiversity data
5. Lungs of the planet reveal their true sensitivity to global warming
6. Pact invests US $109 million to secure critical genetic material, maintain global food production
7. Pandemic controversies: The global response to pandemic influenza must change
8. Global research team decodes genome sequence of 90 chickpea lines
9. Global warming less extreme than feared?
10. Global Companion Diagnostic Market Worth $19.3 billion by 2023: What it Takes to Become a Major Companion Diagnostic Player
11. The global gene pool of the goat is seriously under threat
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  According to new ... officially mainstream. More than 200 fingerprint, iris, and ... 2013 under 70 brand names. This includes market ... and ZTE. Acuity projects that 600 million biometric ... the global installed base. Maxine Most ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Vigilant Solutions announces today that ... are being used by Lee,s Summit ... recent location and arrest of a homicide suspect. ... covers around 65 square miles and is home to ... Department has a single mobile license plate reader system and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... India , February 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... --> According to 2016 iris recognition ... identification iris recognition is more widely accepted ... available with both fingerprint and iris recognition ... the user to avoid purchasing two individual ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)...  Spectra BioPharma Selling Solutions (Spectra) is a ... companies the experience, expertise, operational delivery and customer ... teams. Created in concert with industry leading commercial ... and tactical needs of its clients by providing ... personal and non-personal promotion. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Dovetail Genomics™ LLC today announced that it ... a planned metagenomic genome assembly service. Richard Green ... assembly method in a talk on Friday, February 12 ... conference in Orlando, Fla. ... is difficult. Using its proprietary Chicago ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... for more than 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level of ... of analytical instruments: the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ), ... that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., its partner in the ... is investing an additional CDN$25 million in the joint ... from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui will also play a ... in Sarnia , providing dedicated resources ...
Breaking Biology Technology: