The Great Acceleration graphs themselves, along with the splits, challenge a commonly held view of ‘what’s new about the Anthropocene?’ – predicated on the notion that humans have always changed their environment. While it is certainly true humans have always altered their environment, sometimes on a large scale, what we are now documenting since the mid-20th century is unprecedented in its rate and magnitude. Furthermore, by treating ‘humans’ as a single, monolithic whole, it ignores the fact that the Great Acceleration has, until very recently, been almost entirely driven by a small fraction of the human population, those in developed countries. As the middle classes in the BRICS nations grow, this is beginning to change. The shift is already emerging in the trajectories of several indicators. For example, most of -2000 rise in paper production, telecommunication devices and motor vehicle number has occurred in the non-OECD world (Figure 2). In fact, we see a levelling of the trajectory of water use, fertilizer consumption and paper production in OECD countries. Since about 1970 most of the increase in fertilizer consumption has occurred in BRICS nations. Although not shown in the figures, the shift in the sources of greenhouse gas emissions has been dramatic. Around 2006 China became the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, overtaking the USA. By 2013 per capita emissions in China (7.2 tonnes of CO2 per person per year) surpassed per capita emissions in Europe (6.8 tonnes of CO2 per person per year) (Friedlingstein et al., 2014). However, despite the contribution of these and other developments to bringing many people in the non-OECD world out of absolute poverty, inequalities in income and wealth both within and between countries continue to be a significant problem, with consequences for individual and societal wellbeing (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009). Furthermore, because the effects of the Great Acceleration on the functioning of the Earth System are cumulative over time, most clearly evident in the climate system, the historic inequalities embedded in the origin and trajectory of the Great Acceleration continue to plague negotiations to deal with its consequences. The splits show other significant changes in the socio-economic trends amongst groups of nations. For example, the rapid expansion in urbanisation will take place mainly in Asia and Africa. Between 1978 and 2012 China’s urban population swelled from 17.9% to 52.6% and the country is on course for an urban population of over one billion people within two decades (Bai et al., 2014). In a practical sense, the future trajectory of the Anthropocene may well be determined by what development pathways urbanisation takes in the coming decades, particularly in Asia and Africa. Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 92 The Anthropocene Review 2(1) There is also evidence of technological leapfrogging, which offers some hope that Second World War development pathway followed by the OECD countries, which has driven the Great Acceleration, does not necessarily have to be followed by other nations. For example, the very rapid rise in phone subscriptions since 2000 has occurred almost entirely in the non-OECD world, and these have predominantly been for mobile devices, thus leapfrogging over the need to build and support landline infrastructure across entire nations. It remains to be seen whether similar leapfrogging can occur in the electricity generation sector; that is, whether distributed systems based on renewable energy technologies will be developed rather than centralised grid systems based on large fossil-fuel generation plants. Furthermore, developing countries have the opportunity to avoid poor planning decisions made in the West that have led to high levels of air pollution, for example, and costly remediation. However, at present urbanisation trends in Asia appear to be following the North American model (Seto, 2010). Implications of the Great Acceleration for the Anthropocene discourse The Great Acceleration graphs have important implications for the two central questions that are driving the Anthropocene discourse. First, are the impacts of human activities on the structure and functioning of the Earth System profound enough to distinguish the present state of the system from the Holocene? In other words, is there convincing evidence that a new time period in Earth history is justified? Second, if so, when is the most appropriate start date for the new time period? The socio-economic Great Acceleration graphs (Figure 1) clearly show the phenomenal growth of the human enterprise after the Second World War, both in economic activity, and hence consumption, and in resource use. The corresponding Earth System graphs (Figure 3) also show significant changes in rates or states of all parameters in the 20th century, although a mid-century sharp acceleration is not so clearly defined in all of them. Nevertheless, the coupling between the two sets of 12 graphs is striking. Correlation in time does not prove cause-and-effect, of course, but there is a vast amount of evidence that the changes in the structure and functioning of the Earth System shown in Figure 3 are primarily driven by human activities (e.g. Galloway et al., 2008; IPCC, 2013; MA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment), 2005; Rowland, 2006; Steffen et al., 2004). Human causation of the trends in Figure 3 does not, however, directly address the question of whether the present state of the Earth System is clearly different from the Holocene. For most of the individual graphs in Figure 3, though, there is convincing evidence that the parameters have moved well outside of the Holocene envelope of variability (Rockström et al., 2009). The atmospheric concentrations of the three greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane – are now well above the maximum observed at any time during the Holocene (Ciais et al., 2013). There is no evidence of a significant decrease in stratospheric ozone anytime earlier in the Holocene. Nor is there any evidence that human impact on the marine biosphere, as measured by global tonnage of marine fish capture, has been anywhere near the late 20th-century level at any time earlier in the Holocene. The nitrogen cycle has been massively altered over the past century (Galloway and Cowling, 2002; Galloway et al., 2008) following the discovery in the early 1900s of the Haber-Bosch process that creates fertilizer from unreactive atmospheric nitrogen. The nitrogen cycle is now operating well outside of its Holocene range, if the pre-industrial nitrogen cycle can be taken as an approximation for the Holocene nitrogen cycle (Galloway and Cowling, 2002). Ocean carbonate chemistry is likely changing faster than at any other time in the last 300 million years (Hönisch et al., 2012) and biodiversity loss may be approaching mass extinction rates (Barnosky et al., 2012). Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 93 Steffen et al. Over the 1901–2012 period global average surface temperature increased by nearly 0.9°C (IPCC, 2013); in the Northern Hemisphere the current 30-year average temperature is likely the highest for the last 1400 years (IPCC, 2013). Based on a recent compilation of proxy temperature data, the global mean temperature from 8 to 6 ka BP was about 0.7°C above pre-industrial (Marcott et al., 2013), suggesting that the global climate is also now beyond the Holocene envelope of variability. Human modification of the terrestrial biosphere has had a much longer history than our imprint on other components of the Earth System, a common argument for the ‘what’s new about the Anthropocene?’ view. There is a rich record of this imprint over millennia, prompting some to suggest a very early start to the Anthropocene (e.g. Edgeworth et al., unpublished data, 2014), perhaps even earlier than the Holocene itself. However, these approaches are based only on records of the human imprint on the terrestrial biosphere and do not relate these to significant changes in the structure or functioning of the Earth System as a whole. The exception to this is the proposal that early agricultural activities in the mid-Holocene period emitted enough carbon dioxide and methane to raise global average temperatures significantly and prevent the onset of an ice age (Ruddiman, 2003; Ruddiman et al., 2014). The weight of evidence, however, argues that the mid-Holocene rise in carbon dioxide was a result of natural variability and not human agency (Masson-Delmotte et al., 2013). Furthermore, analysis of orbital forcing parameters shows that an ice age was not imminent at the mid Holocene and that the Holocene is expected to be an unusually long interglacial period (Loutre and Berger, 2000). The beginning of the industrial revolution around the late 18th century is sometimes proposed as a start date for the Anthropocene (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000). Its importance as the beginning of large-scale use by humans of a new, powerful, plentiful energy source – fossil fuels – is unquestioned. Its imprint on the Earth System is significant and clearly visible on a global scale. However, while its trace will remain in geological records, the evidence of large-scale shifts in Earth System functioning prior to 1950 is weak. Of all the candidates for a start date for the Anthropocene, the beginning of the Great Acceleration is by far the most convincing from an Earth System science perspective. It is only beyond the mid20th century that there is clear evidence for fundamental shifts in the state and functioning of the Earth System that are (1) beyond the range of variability of the Holocene, and (2) driven by human activities and not by natural variability. A mid-20th century start date for the Anthropocene has an important implication, as shown in Figure 2 and discussed in Section 4. A mid Holocene, or even earlier, start date for the Anthropocene would tend to diminish the importance of equity issues, so prominent in the Great Acceleration, and reinforce the notion of ‘humanity as a whole’ driving Earth System change. The situation is beginning to change, though, as the Great Acceleration spreads to China, India, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and other countries. In the 21st century, is ‘humanity as a whole’ edging closer to becoming a reality? Setting the start date of the Anthropocene at the beginning of the Great Acceleration makes it possible to specify the onset of the Anthropocene with a high degree of precision (Zalasiewicz et al., 2012). On Monday 16 July 1945, about the time that the Great Acceleration began, the first atomic bomb was detonated in the New Mexico desert. Radioactive isotopes from this detonation were emitted to the atmosphere and spread worldwide entering the sedimentary record to provide a unique signal of the start of the Great Acceleration, a signal that is unequivocally attributable to human activities. In summary, the Great Acceleration marks the phenomenal growth of the global socio-economic system, the human part of the Earth System. It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 94 The Anthropocene Review 2(1) change. In little over two generations – or a single lifetime – humanity (or until very recently a small fraction of it) has become a planetary-scale geological force. Hitherto human activities were insignificant compared with the biophysical Earth System, and the two could operate independently. However, it is now impossible to view one as separate from the other. The Great Acceleration trends provide a dynamic view of the emergent, planetary-scale coupling, via globalisation, between the socio-economic system and the biophysical Earth System. We have reached a point where many biophysical indicators have clearly moved beyond the bounds of Holocene variability. We are now living in a no-analogue world. The future of the Great Acceleration Can the Great Acceleration in its present form continue indefinitely? This seems to be the dominant narrative in -Second World War era, where continual economic growth as measured by increases in GDP and ongoing technological development are assumed to be the norm. However, an examination of human development shows a ‘… human history marked by crises, regime shifts, disasters and constantly changing patterns of adjustments to limits and confines. Indeed, this now emerges as a new historical meta-narrative …’ (Sörlin and Warde, 2009). Periods of growth, then collapse, followed by reorganisation is a common pattern in the human past (Costanza et al., 2006). There are several glimmers of hope that the growth/collapse pattern may be avoided. As noted in the section ‘Extending the Great Acceleration to 2010’, exponential population growth is over and global population seems more likely to stabilise this century. Regulation of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) through the Montreal Protocol has resulted in early signs of recovery of Antarctic stratospheric ozone (Figure 1). Policies in OECD countries to regulate excessive use of fertilizers have stabilised their consumption in these nations. The amount of domesticated land is increasing more slowly as agricultural intensification takes over (albeit with pollution problems from excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers in some agricultural zones (Steffen and Stafford Smith, 2013)). The rapid rise of mobile telecommunication devices in the developing world is an excellent example of leapfrogging. If such leapfrogging could be extended to energy systems, the developing world may lead the way in decoupling development from environmental impacts. On the other hand, greenhouse gases are still rising rapidly, threatening the stability of the climate system, and tropical forest and woodland loss remains high. The pursuit of growth in the global economy continues, but responsibility for its impacts on the Earth System has not been taken. Planetary stewardship has yet to emerge. Will the next 50 years bring the Great Decoupling or the Great Collapse? The latest 10 years of the Great Acceleration graphs show signs of both but cannot distinguish between these scenarios, or other possibilities. But 100 years on from the advent of the Great Acceleration, in 2050, we’ll almost certainly know the answer. Acknowledgements The original Great Acceleration graphs are based on the research of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. We thank Olivier Rousseau, International Fertilizer Industry Association, Richard Feely (NOAA, US), Dana Greely (NOAA, US), Sybil Seitzinger (IGBP), Ninad Bondre (IGBP), Richard Grainger (FAO), Thorsten Kiefer (IGBP PAGES), Ray Bradley (University of Massachusetts), Rob Alkemade (PBL, Netherlands), Julia Pongratz (Carnegie Institute of Washington), David Etheridge and Paul Steele (CSIRO), Jonathan Shanklin (BAS, UK), Arnulf Grubler (IIASA), Phil Jones (CRU), James Orr (IPSL, France), Fred Mackenzie (SOEST, USA), Darrell Kaufman (NAU, USA), Max Troell (Beijer Institute) and Marc Metian (Stockholm Resilience Centre) for their contributions to updating the graphs. We also thank reviewers and the editor for very useful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 95 Steffen et al. 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The Great Acceleration graphs themselves, along with the splits, challenge a commonly held view of ‘what’s new about the Anthropocene?’ – predicated on the notion that humans have always changed their environment. While it is certainly true humans have always altered their environment, sometimes on a large scale, what we are now documenting since the mid-20th century is unprecedented in its rate and magnitude. Furthermore, by treating ‘humans’ as a single, monolithic whole, it ignores the fact that the Great Acceleration has, until very recently, been almost entirely driven by a small fraction of the human population, those in developed countries. As the middle classes in the BRICS nations grow, this is beginning to change. The shift is already emerging in the trajectories of several indicators. For example, most of -2000 rise in paper production, telecommunication devices and motor vehicle number has occurred in the non-OECD world (Figure 2). In fact, we see a levelling of the trajectory of water use, fertilizer consumption and paper production in OECD countries. Since about 1970 most of the increase in fertilizer consumption has occurred in BRICS nations. Although not shown in the figures, the shift in the sources of greenhouse gas emissions has been dramatic. Around 2006 China became the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, overtaking the USA. By 2013 per capita emissions in China (7.2 tonnes of CO2 per person per year) surpassed per capita emissions in Europe (6.8 tonnes of CO2 per person per year) (Friedlingstein et al., 2014). However, despite the contribution of these and other developments to bringing many people in the non-OECD world out of absolute poverty, inequalities in income and wealth both within and between countries continue to be a significant problem, with consequences for individual and societal wellbeing (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009). Furthermore, because the effects of the Great Acceleration on the functioning of the Earth System are cumulative over time, most clearly evident in the climate system, the historic inequalities embedded in the origin and trajectory of the Great Acceleration continue to plague negotiations to deal with its consequences. The splits show other significant changes in the socio-economic trends amongst groups of nations. For example, the rapid expansion in urbanisation will take place mainly in Asia and Africa. Between 1978 and 2012 China’s urban population swelled from 17.9% to 52.6% and the country is on course for an urban population of over one billion people within two decades (Bai et al., 2014). In a practical sense, the future trajectory of the Anthropocene may well be determined by what development pathways urbanisation takes in the coming decades, particularly in Asia and Africa. Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 92 The Anthropocene Review 2(1) There is also evidence of technological leapfrogging, which offers some hope that Second World War development pathway followed by the OECD countries, which has driven the Great Acceleration, does not necessarily have to be followed by other nations. For example, the very rapid rise in phone subscriptions since 2000 has occurred almost entirely in the non-OECD world, and these have predominantly been for mobile devices, thus leapfrogging over the need to build and support landline infrastructure across entire nations. It remains to be seen whether similar leapfrogging can occur in the electricity generation sector; that is, whether distributed systems based on renewable energy technologies will be developed rather than centralised grid systems based on large fossil-fuel generation plants. Furthermore, developing countries have the opportunity to avoid poor planning decisions made in the West that have led to high levels of air pollution, for example, and costly remediation. However, at present urbanisation trends in Asia appear to be following the North American model (Seto, 2010). Implications of the Great Acceleration for the Anthropocene discourse The Great Acceleration graphs have important implications for the two central questions that are driving the Anthropocene discourse. First, are the impacts of human activities on the structure and functioning of the Earth System profound enough to distinguish the present state of the system from the Holocene? In other words, is there convincing evidence that a new time period in Earth history is justified? Second, if so, when is the most appropriate start date for the new time period? The socio-economic Great Acceleration graphs (Figure 1) clearly show the phenomenal growth of the human enterprise after the Second World War, both in economic activity, and hence consumption, and in resource use. The corresponding Earth System graphs (Figure 3) also show significant changes in rates or states of all parameters in the 20th century, although a mid-century sharp acceleration is not so clearly defined in all of them. Nevertheless, the coupling between the two sets of 12 graphs is striking. Correlation in time does not prove cause-and-effect, of course, but there is a vast amount of evidence that the changes in the structure and functioning of the Earth System shown in Figure 3 are primarily driven by human activities (e.g. Galloway et al., 2008; IPCC, 2013; MA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment), 2005; Rowland, 2006; Steffen et al., 2004). Human causation of the trends in Figure 3 does not, however, directly address the question of whether the present state of the Earth System is clearly different from the Holocene. For most of the individual graphs in Figure 3, though, there is convincing evidence that the parameters have moved well outside of the Holocene envelope of variability (Rockström et al., 2009). The atmospheric concentrations of the three greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane – are now well above the maximum observed at any time during the Holocene (Ciais et al., 2013). There is no evidence of a significant decrease in stratospheric ozone anytime earlier in the Holocene. Nor is there any evidence that human impact on the marine biosphere, as measured by global tonnage of marine fish capture, has been anywhere near the late 20th-century level at any time earlier in the Holocene. The nitrogen cycle has been massively altered over the past century (Galloway and Cowling, 2002; Galloway et al., 2008) following the discovery in the early 1900s of the Haber-Bosch process that creates fertilizer from unreactive atmospheric nitrogen. The nitrogen cycle is now operating well outside of its Holocene range, if the pre-industrial nitrogen cycle can be taken as an approximation for the Holocene nitrogen cycle (Galloway and Cowling, 2002). Ocean carbonate chemistry is likely changing faster than at any other time in the last 300 million years (Hönisch et al., 2012) and biodiversity loss may be approaching mass extinction rates (Barnosky et al., 2012). Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 93 Steffen et al. Over the 1901–2012 period global average surface temperature increased by nearly 0.9°C (IPCC, 2013); in the Northern Hemisphere the current 30-year average temperature is likely the highest for the last 1400 years (IPCC, 2013). Based on a recent compilation of proxy temperature data, the global mean temperature from 8 to 6 ka BP was about 0.7°C above pre-industrial (Marcott et al., 2013), suggesting that the global climate is also now beyond the Holocene envelope of variability. Human modification of the terrestrial biosphere has had a much longer history than our imprint on other components of the Earth System, a common argument for the ‘what’s new about the Anthropocene?’ view. There is a rich record of this imprint over millennia, prompting some to suggest a very early start to the Anthropocene (e.g. Edgeworth et al., unpublished data, 2014), perhaps even earlier than the Holocene itself. However, these approaches are based only on records of the human imprint on the terrestrial biosphere and do not relate these to significant changes in the structure or functioning of the Earth System as a whole. The exception to this is the proposal that early agricultural activities in the mid-Holocene period emitted enough carbon dioxide and methane to raise global average temperatures significantly and prevent the onset of an ice age (Ruddiman, 2003; Ruddiman et al., 2014). The weight of evidence, however, argues that the mid-Holocene rise in carbon dioxide was a result of natural variability and not human agency (Masson-Delmotte et al., 2013). Furthermore, analysis of orbital forcing parameters shows that an ice age was not imminent at the mid Holocene and that the Holocene is expected to be an unusually long interglacial period (Loutre and Berger, 2000). The beginning of the industrial revolution around the late 18th century is sometimes proposed as a start date for the Anthropocene (Crutzen and Stoermer, 2000). Its importance as the beginning of large-scale use by humans of a new, powerful, plentiful energy source – fossil fuels – is unquestioned. Its imprint on the Earth System is significant and clearly visible on a global scale. However, while its trace will remain in geological records, the evidence of large-scale shifts in Earth System functioning prior to 1950 is weak. Of all the candidates for a start date for the Anthropocene, the beginning of the Great Acceleration is by far the most convincing from an Earth System science perspective. It is only beyond the mid20th century that there is clear evidence for fundamental shifts in the state and functioning of the Earth System that are (1) beyond the range of variability of the Holocene, and (2) driven by human activities and not by natural variability. A mid-20th century start date for the Anthropocene has an important implication, as shown in Figure 2 and discussed in Section 4. A mid Holocene, or even earlier, start date for the Anthropocene would tend to diminish the importance of equity issues, so prominent in the Great Acceleration, and reinforce the notion of ‘humanity as a whole’ driving Earth System change. The situation is beginning to change, though, as the Great Acceleration spreads to China, India, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and other countries. In the 21st century, is ‘humanity as a whole’ edging closer to becoming a reality? Setting the start date of the Anthropocene at the beginning of the Great Acceleration makes it possible to specify the onset of the Anthropocene with a high degree of precision (Zalasiewicz et al., 2012). On Monday 16 July 1945, about the time that the Great Acceleration began, the first atomic bomb was detonated in the New Mexico desert. Radioactive isotopes from this detonation were emitted to the atmosphere and spread worldwide entering the sedimentary record to provide a unique signal of the start of the Great Acceleration, a signal that is unequivocally attributable to human activities. In summary, the Great Acceleration marks the phenomenal growth of the global socio-economic system, the human part of the Earth System. It is difficult to overestimate the scale and speed of Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 94 The Anthropocene Review 2(1) change. In little over two generations – or a single lifetime – humanity (or until very recently a small fraction of it) has become a planetary-scale geological force. Hitherto human activities were insignificant compared with the biophysical Earth System, and the two could operate independently. However, it is now impossible to view one as separate from the other. The Great Acceleration trends provide a dynamic view of the emergent, planetary-scale coupling, via globalisation, between the socio-economic system and the biophysical Earth System. We have reached a point where many biophysical indicators have clearly moved beyond the bounds of Holocene variability. We are now living in a no-analogue world. The future of the Great Acceleration Can the Great Acceleration in its present form continue indefinitely? This seems to be the dominant narrative in -Second World War era, where continual economic growth as measured by increases in GDP and ongoing technological development are assumed to be the norm. However, an examination of human development shows a ‘… human history marked by crises, regime shifts, disasters and constantly changing patterns of adjustments to limits and confines. Indeed, this now emerges as a new historical meta-narrative …’ (Sörlin and Warde, 2009). Periods of growth, then collapse, followed by reorganisation is a common pattern in the human past (Costanza et al., 2006). There are several glimmers of hope that the growth/collapse pattern may be avoided. As noted in the section ‘Extending the Great Acceleration to 2010’, exponential population growth is over and global population seems more likely to stabilise this century. Regulation of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) through the Montreal Protocol has resulted in early signs of recovery of Antarctic stratospheric ozone (Figure 1). Policies in OECD countries to regulate excessive use of fertilizers have stabilised their consumption in these nations. The amount of domesticated land is increasing more slowly as agricultural intensification takes over (albeit with pollution problems from excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers in some agricultural zones (Steffen and Stafford Smith, 2013)). The rapid rise of mobile telecommunication devices in the developing world is an excellent example of leapfrogging. If such leapfrogging could be extended to energy systems, the developing world may lead the way in decoupling development from environmental impacts. On the other hand, greenhouse gases are still rising rapidly, threatening the stability of the climate system, and tropical forest and woodland loss remains high. The pursuit of growth in the global economy continues, but responsibility for its impacts on the Earth System has not been taken. Planetary stewardship has yet to emerge. Will the next 50 years bring the Great Decoupling or the Great Collapse? The latest 10 years of the Great Acceleration graphs show signs of both but cannot distinguish between these scenarios, or other possibilities. But 100 years on from the advent of the Great Acceleration, in 2050, we’ll almost certainly know the answer. Acknowledgements The original Great Acceleration graphs are based on the research of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. We thank Olivier Rousseau, International Fertilizer Industry Association, Richard Feely (NOAA, US), Dana Greely (NOAA, US), Sybil Seitzinger (IGBP), Ninad Bondre (IGBP), Richard Grainger (FAO), Thorsten Kiefer (IGBP PAGES), Ray Bradley (University of Massachusetts), Rob Alkemade (PBL, Netherlands), Julia Pongratz (Carnegie Institute of Washington), David Etheridge and Paul Steele (CSIRO), Jonathan Shanklin (BAS, UK), Arnulf Grubler (IIASA), Phil Jones (CRU), James Orr (IPSL, France), Fred Mackenzie (SOEST, USA), Darrell Kaufman (NAU, USA), Max Troell (Beijer Institute) and Marc Metian (Stockholm Resilience Centre) for their contributions to updating the graphs. We also thank reviewers and the editor for very useful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Downloaded from anr.sagepub.com by guest on June 22, 2015 95 Steffen et al. 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