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      Identifying knowledge gaps hampering application of intertidal habitats in coastal protection: Opportunities & steps to take

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          The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital

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            Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems.

            All ecosystems are exposed to gradual changes in climate, nutrient loading, habitat fragmentation or biotic exploitation. Nature is usually assumed to respond to gradual change in a smooth way. However, studies on lakes, coral reefs, oceans, forests and arid lands have shown that smooth change can be interrupted by sudden drastic switches to a contrasting state. Although diverse events can trigger such shifts, recent studies show that a loss of resilience usually paves the way for a switch to an alternative state. This suggests that strategies for sustainable management of such ecosystems should focus on maintaining resilience.
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              Early-warning signals for critical transitions.

              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 early-warning signals that may indicate for a wide class of systems if a critical threshold is approaching.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Coastal Engineering
                Coastal Engineering
                Elsevier BV
                03783839
                May 2014
                May 2014
                : 87
                :
                : 147-157
                10.1016/j.coastaleng.2013.11.014
                © 2014

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