Category Archives: Transition

Studying the Complexity of Change: Understanding Deliberate Social-ecological Transformations

Faced with numerous seemingly intractable social and environmental challenges, many scholars and practitioners are increasingly interested in understanding how to actively engage and transform the existing systems holding such problems in place. Although a variety of analytical models have emerged … Continue reading

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Earth System Tipping Points

A tipping point is a critical threshold at which the future state of a system can be qualitatively altered by a small change in forcing. A tipping element is a part of the Earth system (at least sub-continental in scale) … Continue reading

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Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere

Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds. Here we review evidence that the global ecosystem as a whole can react in the same way and … Continue reading

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Early-warning signals for Critical Transitions

Complex dynamical systems, ranging from ecosystems to financial markets and the climate, can have tipping points at which a sudden shift to a contrasting dynamical regime may occur. Although predicting such critical points before they are reached is extremely difficult, … Continue reading

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Anticipating Critical Transitions

Tipping points in complex systems may imply risks of unwanted collapse, but also opportunities for positive change. Our capacity to navigate such risks and opportunities can be boosted by combining emerging insights from two unconnected fields of research. One line … Continue reading

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Complex Systems Regime Shift – Readings I

For a Sustainability point of view. Towards sustainability, it is important to understand the dynamics of socio-ecological systems, as complex adaptive systems. An essential aspect of such complex systems is nonlinearity, leading to historical dependency and multiple possible outcomes of … Continue reading

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Tipping Points

This paper formally defines tipping points as a discontinuity between current and future states of a system and introduces candidate measures of when a system tips based on changes in the probability distribution over future states. We make two categorical … Continue reading

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Resilience Thinking and Large-scale Transformations in Social-ecological Systems

Despite pleas for major change, there is still a lack of understanding of the mechanisms and patterns involved, and of the conditions under which critical transformations can emerge. This lack of understanding greatly decreases the chances for successfully navigating transformation … Continue reading

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Critical Transitions in Nature and Society

How do we explain the remarkably abrupt changes that sometimes occur in nature and society–and can we predict why and when they happen? This book offers a comprehensive introduction to critical transitions in complex systems–the radical changes that happen at … Continue reading

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Understanding Phase Transitions for Social Change

The great challenges of the 21st Century are systemic in nature.  From ecological decline to cybersecurity in a digital age, the patterns of change we must grapple with are profoundly complex.  Change agents will need to understand how change unfolds … Continue reading

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