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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 7, issue 1
Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 21–50, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Social dynamics and planetary boundaries in Earth system...

Earth Syst. Dynam., 7, 21–50, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Jan 2016

Research article | 18 Jan 2016

Topology of sustainable management of dynamical systems with desirable states: from defining planetary boundaries to safe operating spaces in the Earth system

J. Heitzig et al.

Related authors

Taxonomies for structuring models for World-Earth system analysis of the Anthropocene: subsystems, their interactions and social-ecological feedback loops
Jonathan F. Donges, Wolfgang Lucht, Jobst Heitzig, Wolfram Barfuss, Sarah E. Cornell, Steven J. Lade, and Maja Schlüter
Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss.,,, 2018
Preprint under review for ESD
Earth system modelling with complex dynamic human societies: the copan:CORE World-Earth modeling framework
Jonathan F. Donges, Jobst Heitzig, Wolfram Barfuss, Johannes A. Kassel, Tim Kittel, Jakob J. Kolb, Till Kolster, Finn Müller-Hansen, Ilona M. Otto, Marc Wiedermann, Kilian B. Zimmerer, and Wolfgang Lucht
Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss.,,, 2018
Revised manuscript has not been submitted
Short summary
Towards representing human behavior and decision making in Earth system models – an overview of techniques and approaches
Finn Müller-Hansen, Maja Schlüter, Michael Mäs, Jonathan F. Donges, Jakob J. Kolb, Kirsten Thonicke, and Jobst Heitzig
Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 977–1007,,, 2017
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A matrix clustering method to explore patterns of land-cover transitions in satellite-derived maps of the Brazilian Amazon
Finn Müller-Hansen, Manoel F. Cardoso, Eloi L. Dalla-Nora, Jonathan F. Donges, Jobst Heitzig, Jürgen Kurths, and Kirsten Thonicke
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 24, 113–123,,, 2017
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Estimation of sedimentary proxy records together with associated uncertainty
B. Goswami, J. Heitzig, K. Rehfeld, N. Marwan, A. Anoop, S. Prasad, and J. Kurths
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 21, 1093–1111,,, 2014
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Related subject area

Management of the Earth system: sustainability science
Linking resilience and robustness and uncovering their trade-offs in coupled infrastructure systems
Mehran Homayounfar, Rachata Muneepeerakul, John M. Anderies, and Chitsomanus P. Muneepeerakul
Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 1159–1168,,, 2018
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Exploring the biogeophysical limits of global food production under different climate change scenarios
Philipp de Vrese, Tobias Stacke, and Stefan Hagemann
Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 393–412,,, 2018
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A framework for modelling the complexities of food and water security under globalisation
Brian J. Dermody, Murugesu Sivapalan, Elke Stehfest, Detlef P. van Vuuren, Martin J. Wassen, Marc F. P. Bierkens, and Stefan C. Dekker
Earth Syst. Dynam., 9, 103–118,,, 2018
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Ship emissions and the use of current air cleaning technology: contributions to air pollution and acidification in the Baltic Sea
Björn Claremar, Karin Haglund, and Anna Rutgersson
Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 901–919,,, 2017
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Sustainable use of renewable resources in a stylized social–ecological network model under heterogeneous resource distribution
Wolfram Barfuss, Jonathan F. Donges, Marc Wiedermann, and Wolfgang Lucht
Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 255–264,,, 2017
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Cited articles

Anderies, J. M., Carpenter, S. R., Steffen, W., and Rockström, J.: The topology of non-linear global carbon dynamics: from tipping points to planetary boundaries, Environ. Res. Lett., 8, 044048,, 2013.
Aubin, J.-P.: Viability Kernels and Capture Basins of Sets Under Differential Inclusions, SIAM J. Control Optim., 40, 853–881,, 2001.
Aubin, J.-P.: Viability theory, Birkhäuser, Boston, 2009.
Aubin, J.-P. and Saint-Pierre, P.: An Introduction to Viability Theory and Management of Renewable Resources, in: Advanced Methods for Decision Making and Risk Management in Sustainability Science, chap. 2, edited by: Kropp, J. and Scheffran, J., Nova Science Publishers, New York, 43–80, 2007.
Aubin, J.-P., Bayen, A., and Saint-Pierre, P.: Viability Theory. New Directions, Springer Science & Business Media, Heidelberg, 2011.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The debate about a safe and just operating space for humanity and the possible pathways towards and within it requires an analysis of the inherent dynamics of the Earth system and of the options for influencing its evolution. We present and illustrate with examples a conceptual framework for performing such an analysis not in a quantitative, optimizing mode, but in a qualitative way that emphasizes the main decision dilemmas that one may face in the sustainable management of the Earth system.
The debate about a safe and just operating space for humanity and the possible pathways towards...