Anatomy and Resilience of the Global Production Ecosystem


The authors argue that the worldwide production and distribution of food, fuel, and fibre has created a “global production ecosystem” subject to immense simplification, intensification, and control by humans attempting to maximize efficiency. The resulting system is homogenous, highly connected, and has weak feedbacks – “features [that] converge to yield high and predictable supplies of biomass in the short term, but create conditions for novel and pervasive risks to emerge and interact in the longer term” (p. 98). In sum, “management aimed at controlling short-term variability breeds systemic vulnerability in the long run” (p. 104). The global production ecosystem requires major transformations to become sustainable. Strategies may include: leveraging finance for sustainability, promoting transparency and traceability to inform consumer choices, and encouraging large transnational corporations to cat as agents of change.


M. Nyström, J.-B. Jouffray, A. V. Norström, B. Crona, P. Søgaard Jørgensen, S. R. Carpenter, Ö. Bodin, V. Galaz, and C. Folke

Publication Date

7 November 2019


Nature (vol. 575)



Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed

Earth System • Economy • Ecosystems • Food

Resource Theme

Sustainability and Transition • Systemic Risk
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