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Environmental New Normal

China is undergoing unprecedented social and ecological shifts, a harbinger of similar changes that will unfold in developing nations over coming decades. Many of China's degraded environments represent a new normal. Acknowledging this reality will allow societies to make informed decisions that recognize the undervalued costs of environment degradation


There are three distinguishing features of the new normal. The first is the scale of new ecosystem conditions or states, and these new states are often highly persistent and resilient to attempts to reverse them. Second, these new states have resulted in regional-scale losses of ecosystem services. Third, as systems approach and pass tip-ping points, the ecological responses to stochastic drivers, such as climate events.

 It is tempting to talk about ‘solving’ environmental problems quickly in China and elsewhere. Our message is that this may be the wrong mindset for dealing with large-scale landscapes and ecosystems that are close to shifting, or have already shifted, to new states, from which a reversed trajectory may be impossible or protracted. Solving ‘the problem’ is less about restoration and recovery and more about understanding the underlying sys-tem dynamics, and taking informed, rationale, and realistic steps towards the protection and stabilization of old states, and the acceptance of new ones.


See more informations: http://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/abstract/S0169-5347(15)00299-2


















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