Juan C. Rocha


Stockholm University

Juan C. Rocha is a research scientist at the Stockholm Resilience Centre where he co-leads the theme on complex systems. 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: how a critical transition in an ecosystem in the world can impact the likelihood of other ecosystems tipping over. 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, the use of mathematical models, networks and other computational methods to understand social and ecological complexity.

Juan supports the Earth Commission in their mission of defining a safe and just corridor for people and planet through a part time position at Future Earth. He is member of the Beijer Young Scholars, the Resilience Alliance Young Scholars, the Complex Systems Society, the Earth Resilience and Sustainability Initiative, and the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies. He has also been visiting scientist at the Princeton Environmental Institute and the MIT Media Lab. 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



Detecting tipping points

Where on Earth are regime shifts likely to occur?

Water resilience

Understanding and managing Sweden’s exposure to water resilience risks in the Anthropocene


A Mistra program on transdisciplinary research for a nature-positive economy


Are environmental behaviours spreading?

Earth Commission

Safe and just corridor for people and planet

Networks of financial rupture

How the financial sector can be affected by domino effects in the climate and ecosystems


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


Occasional notes for my future self and interested readers. Older content comes from my PhD blog critical transitions.

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. …

Latest news

The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems has been recently launched under an open access licence. The book collects contributions from 97 different authors, situated at SES research hubs in 16 countries around the world. Juan contributed 3 chapters on statistical methods, data mining, and dynamical systems. You can download the book in full or individual chapters below:


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. You can find a complete searchable list under Publications

Achieving a nature-and people-positive future

Despite decades of increasing investment in conservation, we have not succeeded in “bending the curve” of biodiversity decline. Efforts …

Resilience-based steps for adaptive co-management of Arctic small-scale fisheries

Arctic small-scale fisheries are essential for the livelihoods, cultures, nutrition, economy, and food security of Indigenous …

Conceptualizing Earth system justice

Environmental assessments increasingly call for just transformations, yet do not offer concrete visions of what these might be. This …

Imagination Beyond National Jurisdiction - Computing and Envisioning Possible Sustainable Futures for the High Seas

The high seas are experiencing a stark increase in industrial activities, with resources being exploited unsustainably and shared …

Biosphere functional integrity for people and Planet

Introducing and quantifying biosphere integrity


Recent & Upcoming talks

Cascading regime shifts within and across scales

How regime shifts can be interconnected?

Lineas y espirales

Invited talk to Javeriana University about my PhD research (in Spanish)

Resiliencia de sistemas alimentarios

Invited talk to the SARAS event on food system’s resilience