Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (4.4 MB)

Title: Early warning signals of regime shifts from cross-scale connectivity of land-cover patterns

Author: Zurlini, Giovanni; Jones, Kenneth Bruce; Riitters, Kurt Hans; Li, Bai-Lian; Petrosillo, Irene;

Date: 2014

Source: Ecological Indicators 45:549-560

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Increasing external pressures from human activities and climate change can lead to desertification, affecting the livelihood of more than 25% of the world’s population. Thus, determining proximity to transition to desertification is particularly central for arid regions before they may convert into deserts, and recent research has focused on devising early warning signals for anticipating such regime shifts. We here draw the attention to some emerging land-cover cross-scale patterns with a historical characteristic sequence of different regimes in arid or semi-arid Mediterranean regions that could indicate an impending transition to the tightening and extension of desertification processes. Inflexibility of land administration may,in turn, reinforce desertification processes, erode the resilience and promote regime shifts and collapse instead of the adaptability required to counter surprises due to climate change. Various theoretical studies have designated the increase in spatial connectivity as the leading indicator of early warning for an impending critical transition of regime shifts. We show that a potential way to address early warning signals of regime shifts to monitor and predict changes is to look at current land-cover regime within a simple framework for interpreting cross-scale spatial patterns. We provide examples of this approach for the Apulia region in southern Italy with desertification processes in place, and discuss what a cross-scale land-cover pattern could mean, what it says about the condition of socio-ecological landscapes, and what could be the effects of changing observed conditions ought to, for instance, climate change. We took advantage of the rich information provided by cross-scale pattern analysis in the pattern transition space provided by classic neutral landscape models. We show potentially dramatic shifts of connectivity at lowland-cover composition below certain thresholds, and suggest that the degree to which the observed pattern departs from a particular neutral model can indicate early warning signals of regime shifts, and how those landscapes might evolve/react to additional land-cover variation. Moreover, as the land-cover pattern mostly depends on social-economic factors, we argue that we have to change societal values at the root of inflexibility.

Keywords: Cross-scale patterns, Early warning signals, Desertification processes, Neutral landscape models, Rigidity traps

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Zurlini, Giovanni; Jones, Kenneth Bruce; Riitters, Kurt Hans; Li, Bai-Lian; Petrosillo, Irene 2014. Early warning signals of regime shifts from cross-scale connectivity of land-cover patterns. Ecological Indicators 45:549-560.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.