Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 26, 2011
Publication Date: August 6, 2011
Citation: Peters, D.C. 2011. Globalization: Ecological consequences of global-scale connectivity in people, resources and information. In: Pachura, P., editor. The Systemic Dimension of Globalization. InTech Publisher. p. 211-232. Interpretive Summary: It is increasingly recognized that the world is connected across a range of spatial and temporal scales. This connectivity in resources, propagules, and information can result in surprising dynamics at fine scales that can only be understood by considering impacts of broad-scale drivers. Similarly, broad-scale patterns can be driven by the propagation of dynamics at finer scales. Here, three classes of connectivity events are described and illustrated with examples that can be used to improve both understanding and prediction of ecological dynamics in the future as both drivers and responses change in linear and non-linear ways.
Technical Abstract: Globalization is a phenomenon affecting all facets of the Earth System. Within the context of ecological systems, it is becoming increasingly apparent that global connectivity among terrestrial systems, the atmosphere, and oceans is driving many ecological dynamics at finer scales and pushing thresholds of change. In addition, fine-scale ecological dynamics can propagate spatially to influence broad spatial extents with feedbacks to global drivers. Because global change drivers and ecosystem dynamics are changing nonlinearly through time for many locations, it is critical that connections across different aspects of the Earth System be examined to improve both understanding and prediction of future dynamics. Here, three classes of connectivity events are described that emerge from a common, integrated framework. Each class has different characteristics that connect ecological systems at fine to broad scales. Examples are provided to illustrate how various global change drivers can influence and interact with heterogeneity in land surface properties of vegetation and soil pattern to either synchronize, attenuate or amplify impacts of drivers on ecological systems. Approaches are also described to quantifying global change impacts and ecological responses when locations are connected spatially.