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Threshold (in an ecosystem)

Definition:

The level of magnitude of a system process at which sudden or rapid change occurs.

Source: PhysicalGeography.net Glossary of terms 

More:

A point or level at which new properties emerge in an ecological, economic, or other system, invalidating predictions based on mathematical relationships that apply at lower levels.

For example, species diversity of a landscape may decline steadily with increasing habitat degradation to a certain point, then fall sharply after a critical threshold of degradation is reached.

Human behavior, especially at group levels, sometimes exhibits threshold effects. Thresholds at which irreversible changes occur are especially of concern to decision-makers.

Source: MA  Glossary

Related words:

Non-linearity

To read about this term in context:

GreenFacts Summary on Ecosystem Change:

Translation(s):

Español: Umbral (en un ecosistema)
Français: Seuil (dans un écosystème)

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