Juan C. Rocha


Stockholm University

Juan C. Rocha is a research scientist at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Future Earth, and the Beijer Institute. Juan has also been visiting scientist at the Princeton Environmental Institute and the MIT Media Lab. His research questions are oriented to understanding critical transitions: from regime shifts in ecological systems, to collective action in society. Currently he is focusing on the idea of cascading effects, this is how a critical transition in an ecosystem in the world can impact the likelihood of other ecosystems tipping over. He develops mathematical models to explore which interconnections are plausible. He is also looking for empirical signatures of cascading effects on trade networks and rainfall transport dynamics. Juan is interested in methods for identifying resilience surrogates -good observables that can tell you how resilient a system is- as well as misperception of feedbacks and their consequences. He finds inspiration in complex systems science, and the use of mathematical models, networks and other computational methods to understand social and ecological complexity.

Juan is member of the Beijer Young Scholars, the Resilience Alliance Young Scholars, the Complex Systems Society, and the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies. Juan is involved in outreach science initiatives, such as the Regime Shifts Database, where he has been main contributor of scientific synthesis intended for policy makers and the general audience. He is also interested on developing data explorers that facilitate the communication of scientific knowledge to the non-scientific audience. Juan is an avid climber and runner.


  • Complex systems
  • Critical transitions
  • Networks
  • Resilience
  • Sustainable development


  • PhD in Sustainability Science, 2015

    Stockholm University

  • MSc Ecosystems Governance, 2010

    Stockholm University

  • BSc in Ecology, 2006

    Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Recent Posts

Networks Resilience

Recent collaborations with my colleagues at Beijer Institute, Princeton and Posdam Institute have constantly bring me back to the topic …

The regime shifts database

Regime shifts are large, abrupt and persistent changes in the structure and function of ecosystems. Examples include the shift from …

What causes abrupt changes in ecosystems?

Large and abrupt changes in forests, coral reefs and Arctic sea ice are driven by climate change, food production and urbanisation. …




Marine Arctic Resilience, Adaptations and Transformations

Inequality and the biosphere

Studying the interactions of inequality and the biosphere

Behavioural experiments in social-ecological systems with thresholds

How does people behave when dealing with situations pervaded by thresholds? Imagine you’re a fisherman whose livelihoods depend on a resource on the brink to collapse, what would you do? and what do you think others will do?

Cascading effects

Imagine a regime shift occurs. How do you think it effects the likelihood of other systems tipping over?

Hacking Sustainable Diets

What is a sustainable diet?

Regime Shifts in the Anthropocene

What are the main drivers and consequences of regime shifts globally?

Targeting Agricultural Innovations

Mapping social-ecological systems in the Volta Basin

Upscaling the Resilience Assessment: comparing cases in the Arctic

Juan explores qualitative methods (QCA) for upscaling the resilience assessment to large regions operationalising the concept of adaptive capacity to better understand what conditions enhances community resilience in the Arctic. Learn more in the Arctic Resilience Report. Picture by Markus Trienke - travelling the Inuit way

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Quantifying cascading effects in trade networks

This talk showcases the use of convergent cross mapping to detect teleconnections and potential cascading effects between resource …

Cascading regime shifts mediated by water

Water is thought to be a key factor connecting ecosystems in far away places, trhough water flows both in the surface and the …

Cooperation in the face of thresholds, risk, and uncertainty

Cooperation is thought to be a necessary condition to solve collective dilemmas such as climate change or the sustainable use of common …

Inequality and the biosphere

Rising inequalities and accelerating global environmental change pose two of the most pressing challenges of the twenty-first century. …

Recent Publications

Most of my publications are open access. If a pdf link is not provided here please email me and will share it with you.

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Mapping Social Ecological Systems Archetypes

Mapping typologies of social-ecological systems can help understand where and when sustainable solutions work

Cooperation in the Face of Thresholds, Risk, and Uncertainty

Cooperation is thought to be a necessary condition to solve collective dilemmas such as climate change or the sustainable use of …

Uncertainty can Help Protect Local Commons in the Face of Climate Change

Climate change is likely to trigger abrupt and potentially persistent changes in the structure and function of marine ecosystems. Such …

Toward understanding the dynamics of land change in Latin America: potential utility of a resilience approach for building archetypes of land-systems change

Climate change, financial shocks, and fluctuations in international trade are some of the reasons why resilience is increasingly …

Cascading regime shifts within and across scales

Abrupt changes in ecosystems can be connected to others in time and space