Finding the Balance: Collaboration on Social-Ecological Tipping Points

Friday, February 12, 2016: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Wilson B (Marriott Wardman Park)
What does it mean to cross a tipping point? In ecological systems, it can mean collapsed fisheries, savannahs where forests once stood, coral reefs without corals, or a North Pole free of ice. In social systems, it can mean collapsed economies, lost ecosystem services, or eroded cultural identity. Social-ecological systems everywhere are crossing thresholds and undergoing dramatic changes, forcing people to cope with the resulting impacts. Decision-makers are striving to avoid catastrophic shifts or restore ecosystem benefits in systems that have already crossed a tipping point. In light of recent advances in the science of tipping points and growing awareness of their pervasiveness, scientists and managers are co-developing knowledge and tools to anticipate, avoid, or recover from these changes – utilizing tipping points to effect positive change. Together, they are beginning to quantify thresholds associated with social-ecological tipping points, define safe-operating spaces for human activities, and understand how best to recover systems that have already crossed tipping points. This symposium focuses on co-development of practical management tools, jointly presented by a scientist and manager to weave together the science with its application. The session highlights how these novel international collaborations are giving rise to innovative, durable, and sustainable environmental management solutions.
Carrie Kappel, University of California, Santa Barbara
Rod Fujita, Environmental Defense Fund
Kim Selkoe, University of California, Santa Barbara
Defining and Maintaining a Safe Operating Space for People and Reefs in Hawaii
Phil Levin, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Can Changes in the Distribution of One Fish Lead to Irreparable Harm to a Culture?