Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 538497
Title Defining tipping points for social-ecological systems scholarship - An interdisciplinary literature review
Author(s) Milkoreit, Manjana; Hodbod, Jennifer; Baggio, Jacopo; Benessaiah, Karina; Calderón-Contreras, Rafael; Donges, Jonathan F.; Mathias, Jean Denis; Rocha, Juan Carlos; Schoon, Michael; Werners, Saskia E.
Source Environmental Research Letters 13 (2018)3. - ISSN 1748-9318
DOI https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaaa75
Department(s) Water Systems and Global Change
Alterra - Climate change and adaptive land and water management
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) non-linear change - social tipping points - social-ecological systems - tipping points
Abstract The term tipping point has experienced explosive popularity across multiple disciplines over the last decade. Research on social-ecological systems (SES) has contributed to the growth and diversity of the term's use. The diverse uses of the term obscure potential differences between tipping behavior in natural and social systems, and issues of causality across natural and social system components in SES. This paper aims to create the foundation for a discussion within the SES research community about the appropriate use of the term tipping point, especially the relatively novel term 'social tipping point.' We review existing literature on tipping points and similar concepts (e.g. regime shifts, critical transitions) across all spheres of science published between 1960 and 2016 with a special focus on a recent and still small body of work on social tipping points. We combine quantitative and qualitative analyses in a bibliometric approach, rooted in an expert elicitation process. We find that the term tipping point became popular after the year 2000 - long after the terms regime shift and critical transition - across all spheres of science. We identify 23 distinct features of tipping point definitions and their prevalence across disciplines, but find no clear taxonomy of discipline-specific definitions. Building on the most frequently used features, we propose definitions for tipping points in general and social tipping points in SES in particular.
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