Cascading events that start at small spatial scales and propagate non-linearly through time to influence larger areas often have major impacts on ecosystem goods and services. Events such as wildfires and hurricanes are increasing in frequency and magnitude as systems become more connected through globalization processes. We need to improve our understanding of these events in order to predict their occurrence, minimize potential impacts, and allow for strategic recovery. Here, we synthesize information about cascading events in systems located throughout the Americas. We discuss a variety of examples of cascading events that share a common feature: they are often driven by linked ecological and human processes across scales. In this era of globalization, we recommend studies that explicitly examine connections across scales and examine the role of connectivity among non-contiguous as well as contiguous areas. ?? The Ecological Society of America.
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Cascading events in linked ecological and socioeconomic systems