Understanding tipping points and the potential transition pathways they create is challenging because of the non-linear interactions of social and ecological systems.
In a new paper by J.D. Mathias & colleagues, the authors analyze the potential effect of tipping points on transition pathways using a stylized model composed of agents exploiting resources in an ecosystem and interacting with other agents.
The researcher's model suggests people's perceptions of an ecosystem's state interacts in complex ways with how resources are exploited, sometimes leading to counter-intuitive outcomes.
The study highlights the complexity of managing long-term and short-term benefits and how understanding social-ecological interactions is critical to identifying sustainable transition pathways.
Mathias, J.D., J.M. Anderies, J. Baggio, J. Hodbod, S. Huet, M.A. Janssen, M. Milkoreit, and M. Schoon. 2020. Exploring non-linear transition pathways in social-ecological systems. Scientific Reports 10:4136. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-59713-w