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FKZ: 01LC1821A-E
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work package E1

Identify early-warning indicators for DTPs from time series


This work package aims to identify early-warning indicators of rangeland DTPs by retrospectively analysing time series of above-ground net primary production (ANPP) and rainfall. It will build upon novel insights in tipping point research, such as the mechanism of a ‘critical slowing down’. An ANPP-based approach is promising as:

  • ANPP is a well-documented ecosystem metric, with numerous local ANPP time series available
  • ANPP is an aggregated measure of ecosystem performance and highly responsive to system behaviour on the brink of a DTP
  • ANPP-based early warning indicators may easily be implemented in existing monitoring practices (à WP 4).

The WP takes advantage of a huge collection of ANPP time series from drylands worldwide. It covers >4500 observation years from approx. 320 sites (83 from southern Africa). Each time series consists of annual ANPP and rainfall data, complemented by information on a site’s biophysical conditions and land-use intensity. The database will be further extended. ANPP-based early-warning indicators will be quantified using metrics of ecosystem stability and metrics based on the relationship between productivity and precipitation (PPR).

Lead Institutions:

University Tübingen

University of Namibia

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