Planetary Boundaries

From Open Risk Manual


The concept of Planetary Boundaries posits that Earth system processes critical for maintaining the stable state of the Holocene, such as biosphere integrity, land-use change and climate change may be being influenced by human activity.

The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity within the boundaries of nine productive ecological capacities of the planet.

  • Biosphere Integrity
  • Genetic Diversity
  • Climate Change
  • Novel Entities
  • Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
  • Atmospheric Aerosol Loading
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Biochemical Flows
  • Land-system Change
  • Freshwater Usage

Although not all these processes have definable single thresholds, crossing the boundaries increases the risk of large-scale, potentially irreversible, environmental changes [1].


  1. Rockström et al. 2009; Steffen et al. 2015