Frischseminar: Anne-Sophie Crepin
Cascading regime shifts in pollution and resource systems
Ecosystems can undergo regime shifts – large, abrupt and persistent changes in their structure and function. These regime shifts can interact with each other creating cascading effects. We explore characteristics of such interactions and their outcomes. We focus on systems where regime shifts can lead to impacts on human welfare. In particular we examine two types of systems: pollution recipients such as the atmosphere or a water body, and sources of natural resources such as forests or fish stocks. We set up a dynamic modeling framework where patches of pollution recipients and resource producing systems can interact with each other. We identify clear mechanisms through which cascading effects can either increase the probability of shifts in other systems or decrease it. We also investigate the conditions for optimal control of such systems.