Functional Diversity Management to Generate Sustainability: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Prevent Tipping Points [S-15]

Organizers:
N. Galia Selaya, ECOSCONSULT
Jens Boy, Leibniz Universität Hannover

Understanding soil biodiversity driven processes function, and delivery of ecosystem services, are crucial to promote knowledgeable functional diversity management to prevent crossing tipping points. We discuss options to prevent passing tipping points, by the governance of “functional diversity” across the biophysical, economic, and societal levels using southwestern Amazonia as blueprint.

One of the main challenges to prevent crossing ecosystem thresholds of one state to the other is the rapid and often irreversible nature of tipping points. Additionally, in coupled natural and human systems, the impact of tipping points is not always recognized as a threat, and people usually see no reason to change their behavior towards ecosystem degradation as long as their livelihood, health, or economy are not impaired perceptibly. As such, addressing tipping points is complex, and requires a multi factorial analysis, and integration of natural and social sciences to understand the underlying processes governing ecosystem health and good science communication to engage society. For this symposium, we present scientific fundaments and motivations of studies of southwestern Amazonia as a potential blueprint of a trans disciplinary approach towards tipping points. The intention is to discuss and develop with the audience best practice approaches. Southwestern Amazonia is one of the epicenters of environmental changes leading to extreme events such as drought, wildfires, and flooding, with an increased frequency. The region shelters high diversity, and also indigenous groups and local peoples that culturally reproduce ecosystem goods and services for their livelihoods. We decided to start with soil ecosystems as the basis of the analysis of a cascade of tipping elements with respective tipping points. This is debatable as human interferences are the beginning of environmental changes, but we put societal factors to the end of the chain to accentuate the feedback to the human systems. Soil functioning plays a decisive role in the soil – plant – human chain but to what extent are they controlled by functional soil biodiversity in a biodiversity hotspot like the Amazon? Which are the biodiversity-driven underlying processes that control ecosystem resilience? How can soil biodiversity processes’ knowledge be translated into viable management options? What are the key elements to develop policies to prevent the crossing of tipping points by human societies? We will focus first on ecologic indicators for the crossing of tipping points. Then, we will disentangle soil biodiversity and symbiosis as a driver of productivity and resilience in tropical regions. Furthermore, scenarios of biodiversity-based livelihoods will be discussed, and importantly, we will name societal and economic indicators necessary for policy options to manage ecosystems sustainably. On these grounds, we will identify and evaluate options to prevent passing crucial tipping points, by the governance of “functional diversity” across the biophysical, economic, and societal levels.

Photo by Tomas Munita/CIFOR

Exploring the occurrence of tipping points in social-ecological systems using functional diversity in a cross-scale resilience approach (Alberto Andrino de la Fuente)

Unravelling biodiversity driven processes and tipping points in Amazonian forest soils and their impact on society and politics (Diana Boy)

Functional biodiversity and local stakeholders in Acre, Brazil: challenges and lessons learned about livelihoods and their contribution to conservation (Málika Pilnik)

The governance of diversity: dealing with complex societal and legislative systems to prevent tipping points (Regine Schönenberg)

Presentations

Symposium

Functional Diversity Management to Generate Sustainability: A Transdisciplinary Approach to Prevent Tipping Points [S-15]