Cascading Regime Shifts Within and Across Scales


Where regime shifts (also known as critical transitions) are generally studied within a single ecosystem, the authors explore cascading regimes shifts across multiple ecosystems. Drawing on the Regime Shifts Database of over thirty well-documented regime shifts, they identify three causal pathways by which a regime shift in one ecosystem relates causally to a regime shift in another ecosystem: common drivers, domino effects, and hidden feedbacks. They find that “regional ecosystems can be transformed by ecosystem management far away and, conversely, can themselves drive the transformations of other distant ecosystems. Decisions made in one place can undermine the achievement of sustainable development goals in other places.”


Juan C. Rocha, Garry Peterson, Örjan Bodin, and Simon Levin

Publication Date

21 December 2018


Science (vol. 362, iss. 6421)



Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed


Resource Theme

Sustainability and Transition • Theory Building
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