Restoring stabilizing feedback loops for sustainability

Matías E. Mastrangelo, Graeme S. Cumming

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Feedback loops between people and ecosystems are critical for maintaining social-ecological systems in a local equilibrium. However, an increasing disconnection between people and nature has eroded people's capacity to perceive and evaluate environmental warning signals and respond to them appropriately. Our lack of a mechanistic understanding of the dynamics of stabilizing feedback loops, and the factors disrupting them, limits our capacity to tailor actions and policies to restore missing stabilizing feedback loops. Here, we develop a structured approach to trace the formation and disruption of stabilizing feedback loops at the level of human agents. This approach helps us to identify factors and processes underlying four types of missing stabilizing feedback loops and suitable actions and policies to restore each of them. By recognizing the constraints imposed by system-level dynamics on the human capacity to reverse environmental degradation, our approach provides an object of study that bridges agent-level and system-level social-ecological dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-805
Number of pages12
JournalOne Earth
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2024

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