Lost and Found: Uncovering Missing Feedbacks in a Coral Reef Social–Ecological System


Over the last decades, a continuous increase of economic, environmental and social connectivity occurred on a global level. While globalization facilitates human development, it can also conceal local developments. This, in turn, can have detrimental effects on the sustainability of local social–ecological systems: through a worldwide connection of social-ecological processes, feedbacks on the local level that indicate unsustainable use of resources can be weakened or lost. Dajka et al. (2020) suggest that in order to achieve a more sustainable future, feedbacks that underpin social–ecological trajectories have to be considered and managed. Using the example of Jamaican coral reefs, the authors demonstrate how the “red loop – green loop” concept can highlight missing feedbacks and help understand past, present and future sustainability in social-ecological settings.

Coral reefs are anlaysed as social-ecological systems by Dajka et al. (2020).

Social-ecological systems are characterized by complex interconnections and feedbacks. In a globalized world however…

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