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It has been suggested that tropical forest and savanna could represent alternative stable states, implying critical transitions at tipping points in response to altered climate or other drivers. So far, evidence for this idea has remained elusive, and integrated climate models assume smooth vegetation responses. We analyzed data on the distribution of tree… (More)
Although the boreal region is warming twice as fast as the global average, the way in which the vast boreal forests and tundras may respond is poorly understood. Using satellite data, we reveal marked alternative modes in the frequency distributions of boreal tree cover. At the northern end and at the dry continental southern extremes, treeless tundra and… (More)
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It has recently been found that the frequency distribution of remotely sensed tree cover in the tropics has three distinct modes, which seem to correspond to forest, savanna, and treeless states. This pattern has been suggested to imply that these states represent alternative attractors, and that the response of these systems to climate change would be… (More)
Publicly available remote sensing products have boosted science in many ways. The openness of these data sources suggests high reproducibility. However, as we show here, results may be specific to versions of the data products that can become unavailable as new versions are posted. We focus on remotely-sensed tree cover. Recent studies have used this public… (More)