Extreme weather, melting ice caps and endangered animals are daily reminders of our changing environment.
Researchers have developed calculations that help answer this question, effectively offering a technique to sort ecosystems in decline by monitoring and comparing their distance from tipping points.
Equations for Avoiding the Extinction of Earth’s Vulnerable Ecosystems
(Photo: Karsten Würth/Unsplash)
(Photo: Karsten Würth/Unsplash)
A team led by Jianxi Gao, an assistant professor of computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has devised equations that compare distances to tipping points in various mutualistic systems in a study just published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, according to ScienceDaily.
In other words, for the first time, varied habitats can be assessed to see how close they are to being fully and perhaps irreversibly transformed, and they can be compared to others to identify regions needing most urgent action.
Scientists could previously detect the warning signs that a system was reaching its tipping point, but they could not assign an exact number to the distance between a system and its tipping point.
The value can define the possibility of a system going from the desirable state to the undesirable state, or how easily a tipping point can be reached.
Gao’s team created a generic dimension reduction technique to simplify data in complex systems, enabling accurate assessments of distances to tipping points in a variety of ecosystems. The researchers also created a scale factor that compares the robustness of different systems by placing them on the same scale.
With so many ecosystems suffering from the effects of climate change, communicating how little time we have left to react before a tipping point is crucial, according to Curt Breneman, dean of the Rensselaer School of Science.
In mathematical terms, resilience is the distance from the edge of the basin of attraction.
For example, if one attraction is forest and the other is savannah, the system may or may not transfer to savannah depending on various reasons, according to Gao.
The area comprising these components inside the high-dimensional space is called the base of attraction.
A system will always recover if it stays inside the boundary. Only when he reaches a certain threshold does he enter another condition from which he cannot return.
Read more: Air pollution versus ozone pollution: impacts on health, agriculture, environment, scientists warn
Solutions to environmental problems
Today we face the most serious environmental concerns in human history. Our climate, land, life and the fate of civilization are all at risk, according to Unity College.
While the enormity of this concept can be daunting, don’t allow yourself to feel helpless and unsure where to begin.
Making small changes to your daily routine can give you a sense of accomplishment and a desire to try new things.
Everything you use and throw away can end up in a landfill for generations. Check out the list below for small changes you can make to reduce the number of disposable things in your daily life.
Bring a reusable cup or water bottle with you.
Instead of sandwich bags and plastic wrap, use sealed, reusable food containers.
Prepare a zero-waste lunch by carrying your utensils, linen napkins and containers in a reusable lunch bag.
Instead of buying individually wrapped drinks, consider buying bulk containers of your favorite drinks and refilling a reusable bottle.
We live in the digital age, but consider all the paper stuff you use on a regular basis. These behaviors are still compatible with recycling and reuse, although the change may take a little longer.
Instead of buying books, join a library or buy a Kindle.
Print as little as possible; if necessary, print on both sides.
Wrap the gifts in fabric and tie them with a ribbon; both are more reusable and more visually appealing than paper and tape.
Related article: The impact of the footwear industry on the environment
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