Stephen R. Carpenter

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Agriculture and urban activities are major sources of phosphorus and nitrogen to aquatic ecosystems. Atmospheric deposition further contributes as a source of N. These nonpoint inputs of nutrients are difficult to measure and regulate because they derive from activities dispersed over wide areas of land and are variable in time due to effects of weather. In(More)
The concept of resilience has evolved considerably since Holling’s (1973) seminal paper. Different interpretations of what is meant by resilience, however, cause confusion. Resilience of a system needs to be considered in terms of the attributes that govern the system’s dynamics. Three related attributes of social– ecological systems (SESs) determine their(More)
Complex dynamical systems, ranging from ecosystems to financial markets and the climate, can have tipping points at which a sudden shift to a contrasting dynamical regime may occur. Although predicting such critical points before they are reached is extremely difficult, work in different scientific fields is now suggesting the existence of generic(More)
Land use has generally been considered a local environmental issue, but it is becoming a force of global importance. Worldwide changes to forests, farmlands, waterways, and air are being driven by the need to provide food, fiber, water, and shelter to more than six billion people. Global croplands, pastures, plantations, and urban areas have expanded in(More)
Increasing population and consumption are placing unprecedented demands on agriculture and natural resources. Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world's future food security and sustainability needs,(More)
Until recently, large apex consumers were ubiquitous across the globe and had been for millions of years. The loss of these animals may be humankind's most pervasive influence on nature. Although such losses are widely viewed as an ethical and aesthetic problem, recent research reveals extensive cascading effects of their disappearance in marine,(More)
‘Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a new wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a(More)
Regime shifts are substantial, long-lasting reorganizations of complex systems, such as ecosystems. Large ecosystem changes such as eutrophication, shifts among vegetation types, degradation of coral reefs and regional climate change often come as surprises because we lack leading indicators for regime shifts. Increases in variability of ecosystems have(More)
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) introduced a new framework for analyzing social-ecological systems that has had wide influence in the policy and scientific communities. Studies after the MA are taking up new challenges in the basic science needed to assess, project, and manage flows of ecosystem services and effects on human well-being. Yet, our(More)