Barfuss, W., Donges, J. F., Vasconcelos, V. V., Kurths, J., & Levin, S. A. (2020): Caring for the future can turn tragedy into comedy for long-term collective action under risk of collapse. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(23), 12915-12922. https://www.pnas.org/content/117/23/12915
The paper shows how a longer view helps create space for collective action.
Krueger EH, Borchardt D, Jawitz JW, Rao PSC (2020): Balancing security, resilience, and sustainability of urban water supply systems in a desirable operating space. Environ Res Lett 15(3):035007. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab6c2d
This paper proposes a framework for how to conceptually and empirically link resource security for all, resilience to shocks and disturbances, and environmental and inter-generational sustainability through the lens of urban water supply.
Liu et al. (2013): Socioeconomic and environmental interactions between distant systems: Framing sustainability in a telecoupled world. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol18/iss2/art26/
The foundational paper for the framework telecoupling.
Liu (2017): Socioeconomic and environmental interactions within individual systems and between adjacent and distant systems: Integration across a metacoupled world. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol22/iss4/art29/
Expanding the scope of telecoupling to include local and regional interactions, this is the foundational paper for the integrated framework of metacoupling.
Folke, C., S. Polasky, J. Rockström, V. Galaz, F. Westley, M. Lamont, M. Scheffer, H. Österblom, S.R. Carpenter, F.S. Chapin III, K.C. Seto, E.U. Weber, B.I. Crona, G.C. Daily, P. Dasgupta, O. Gaffney, L.J. Gordon, H. Hoff, S.A. Levin, J. Lubchenco, W. Steffen, and B.H. Walker. 2021. Our Future in the Anthropocene Biosphere. Ambio 50: 834-869. https://doi10.1007/s13280-021-01544-8
Whether humanity has the collective wisdom to navigate the Anthropocene to sustain a livable planet for people and civilizations, as well as for the rest of life with which we share the planet, is the most formidable challenge facing humanity.
Global food systems
Carlson, A.K., Rubenstein, D.I., and Levin, S.A. (2020): Linking multiscalar fisheries using metacoupling models. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00614/full
This paper uses the metacoupling framework to explore food supply and food security provided by the world’s marine fisheries over 65 years (1950-2014) by developing metacoupling models of fisheries catches and assessing cross-scalar interactions among fisheries types (artisanal, subsistence, industrial, recreational).
Carlson, A.K., Taylor, W.W., Rubenstein, D.I., Levin, S.A., and Liu, J. (2020): Global marine fishing across space and time. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/11/4714
This paper uses the metacoupling framework to quantify global marine fisheries catches over 65 years (1950-2014) and discuss implications for food supply and food security.
Carlson, A.K., Taylor, W.W., Liu, J., and Orlic, I. (2018): Peruvian anchoveta as a telecoupled fisheries system. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol23/iss1/art35/
The first application of the telecoupling framework to fisheries, this paper explores one of the world’s largest and most important fisheries for food supply and security (Peruvian anchoveta) through the lens of the distant social-ecological interactions that influence fish harvest and trade.
Urban Sustainability Transformations – Towards Urban Planetary Stewardship
Santos, F. P., Levin, S. A., & Vasconcelos, V. V. (2021). Biased perceptions explain collective action deadlocks and suggest new mechanisms to prompt cooperation. iScience, 24(4), 102375. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2589004221003436
This paper studies the impact of social perception biases in collective action dilemmas. The paper shows that different types of bias play a distinct role in cooperation dynamics and suggests that targeting biases (e.g., by changing the information available to individuals) can be more effective than introducing monetary incentives to prompt collective action.
Krueger EH, Constantino SM, Centeno M, Elmqvist T, Weber EU, Levin SA, 2022: Governing sustainable transformations of urban social-ecological-technological systems. Npj Urban Sustainability, 2:10, 1-12. https://www.nature.com/articles/s42949-022-00053-1/metrics
In this paper we review different perspectives addressing the need for improving urban resilience and sustainability, including the sustainable management of natural resources and service provision, social processes and capacities required for such transformations, and the power relations among actors, which determine the playing field in which governance processes take place. We embrace the emerging approach that considers urban areas as interdependent social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) that are subject to changing temporal dynamics and embedded across scales from local to global.
Krueger EH, McPhearson T, Levin, SA (2022): Integrated assessment of urban water supply security and resilience: Towards a streamlined approach. Environmental Research Letters 17(075006), 1-31. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac78f4
We investigate the resilience of an urban water system that is generally considered ‘secure’, delivering the country’s best water quality and services – the water supply system of New York City. We identify a number of risks and vulnerability issues and use a social-ecological-technological systems (SETS) framework to gather input to a coupled systems dynamics model. The model produces several scenarios of shock-recovery cycles, which simulate the resilience of the urban system. Our results show that, if the risks and vulnerabilities remain unaddressed, they might significantly impact urban water resilience in the mid-term future.
Global systemic risk & resilience
Choquette-Levy, Nicolas, Matthias Wildemeersch, Michael Oppenheimer, and Simon A. Levin. “Risk transfer policies and climate-induced immobility among smallholder farmers.” Nature Climate Change (2021): 1-9. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01205-4
Through a novel agent-based model, we find that a combination of risk transfer policies (including cash transfers, index insurance, and support for migration remittances) substantially improves the capacity of South Asian smallholder farmers to adapt to increasing climate risks.
Rockström, J., T. Beringer, D. Hole, B. Griscom, M. Mascia, C. Folke, and F. Creutzig. (2021). We need Biosphere Stewardship that Protects Carbon Sinks and Builds Resilience. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 118 No. 38 e2115218118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2115218118
This paper highlights the significance of Earth’s ecosystems in the climate systems and illustrates that without this major biosphere services we would have already been beyond 1.5 degrees warming.
Romano, Roberta, and Simon A. Levin. “Sunsetting as an adaptive strategy.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, no. 26 (2021). https://www.pnas.org/content/118/26/e2015258118.short
This paper highlights the sunsetting strategy for mitigating risks of financial legislation from a perspective of evolutionary biology.
Saad-Roy, Chadi M., Caroline E. Wagner, Rachel E. Baker, Sinead E. Morris, Jeremy Farrar, Andrea L. Graham, Simon A. Levin, Michael J. Mina, C. Jessica E. Metcalf, and Bryan T. Grenfell. “Immune life history, vaccination, and the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 over the next 5 years.” Science 370, no. 6518 (2020): 811-818. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abd7343
Santos, F. P., Pacheco, J. M., Santos, F. C., & Levin, S. A. (2021). Dynamics of informal risk sharing in collective index insurance. Nature Sustainability, 4(5), 426-432. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-00667-2
This paper applies methods from evolutionary game theory to study the adoption of collective index insurance (CII). It shows that CII is advantageous against basis risk, however CII introduces a social dilemma of coordination and mechanisms such as local peer monitoring are necessary to stabilize its adoption.
Folke, C., H. Österblom, J.-B. Jouffray, E. Lambin, M. Scheffer, B.I. Crona, M. Nyström, S.A. Levin, S.R. Carpenter, W.N. Adger, J.M. Anderies, F.S. III Chapin, A.-S. Crépin, A. Dauriach, V. Galaz, L.J. Gordon, N. Kautsky, B.H. Walker, J.R. Watson, J. Wilen, and A. de Zeeuw. (2019). Transnational Corporations and the Challenge of Biosphere Stewardship. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3:1396–1403, doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0978-z
Here it is shown that a handful of transnational corporations have become a major force shaping the global intertwined system of people and planet.
Nyström M., J.-B. Jouffray, A. Norström, P. Sogaard-Jørgensen, V. Galaz, B.E. Crona, S.R. Carpenter, and C. Folke. (2019). Anatomy and Resilience of the Global Production Ecosystem. Nature 575: 98-108. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1712-3
Here, it is shown that the simplification and intensification of Earth’s ecosystems and the social-ecological connections across the planet have eroded resilience and created conditions for novel and pervasive risks to emerge and interact.
Rocha, Juan C, Garry Peterson, Orjan Bodin, and Simon Levin (2018): Cascading Regime Shifts Within and Across Scales. Science 362 (6421). American Association for the Advancement of Science: 1379–83. doi:10.1126/science.aat7850.
This paper identifies plausible mechanisms that can connect critical transitions across ecosystems.
Searchinger, Timothy D., Stefan Wirsenius, Tim Beringer, and Patrice Dumas. (2018). ‘Assessing the Efficiency of Changes in Land Use for Mitigating Climate Change’. Nature 564 (7735): 249–53. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0757-z.
Steffen, W., Rockström, J., Richardson, K., Lenton, T. M., Folke, C., Liverman, D., … & Donges, J. F., …, Winkelmann, R., Schellnhuber, H.J. (2018). Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(33), 8252-8259. doi:10.1073/pnas.1810141115.
This paper identifies systemic risk factors that can undermine Earth system resilience in the Anthropocene, including positive feedback mechanisms and cascading tipping dynamics.