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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

"Tipping Points"

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, November 25, 2014/Categories: natural history, sustainability, environment, climate change

When does an ecological system reach the point where it "tips" from one state into another? That is a critical to know considering the myriad of environmental stresses now affecting most biological systems. A new project, Ocean Tipping Points  aims to embed the science of "tipping points" (ecosystem shifts) into marine management. An announcement about the new environmental initiative has just been  released  .

According to the organization: "Understanding which environmental changes lead to tipping points, how to mitigate them, and what diverse stakeholders value from the system will be key to maintaining or restoring healthy ecosystems."

Coral Reefs represent "Ecosystems on the Edge"  (credit: Ocean Tipping Points)

Studies by "tipping points" researchers, are also being published in a special issue of  Transactions of the Royal Society . The information offers the promise of assisting natural resource managers predict, avoid, and reverse the tipping points that lead to degraded ocean habitats, economic losses, and social upheaval. Their special reports: Marine regime shifts around the globe: includes investigations exploring the science behind ecosystem shifts and how they can be managed.

Ecological systems can be restored from degraded states by manipulation but knowledge of how they "tipped over" in the first place is essential. Ocean Tipping Points is leading the way.


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