Novel Ecosystems : Intervening in the New Ecological World Order

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-01
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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Land conversion, climate change and species invasions are contributing to the widespread emergence of novel ecosystems, which demand a shift in how we think about traditional approaches to conservation, restoration and environmental management. They are novel because they exist without historical precedents and are self-sustaining. Traditional approaches emphasizing native species and historical continuity are challenged by novel ecosystems that deliver critical ecosystems services or are simply immune to practical restorative efforts. Some fear that, by raising the issue of novel ecosystems, we are simply paving the way for a more laissez-faire attitude to conservation and restoration. Regardless of the range of views and perceptions about novel ecosystems, their existence is becoming ever more obvious and prevalent in today's rapidly changing world. In this first comprehensive volume to look at the ecological, social, cultural, ethical and policy dimensions of novel ecosystems, the authors argue these altered systems are overdue for careful analysis and that we need to figure out how to intervene in them responsibly. This book brings together researchers from a range of disciplines together with practitioners and policy makers to explore the questions surrounding novel ecosystems. It includes chapters on key concepts and methodologies for deciding when and how to intervene in systems, as well as a rich collection of case studies and perspective pieces. It will be a valuable resource for researchers, managers and policy makers interested in the question of how humanity manages and restores ecosystems in a rapidly changing world.

Author Biography

Richard J. Hobbs is Professor of Restoration Ecology and Australian Laureate Fellow at the University of Western Australia, where he leads the Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology Research Group. His current research focuses on pulling together different disciplines including restoration ecology, conservation biology and landscape ecology to develop a more effective ecology for the 21st century.

Eric S. Higgs is Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria (Canada), and director of the Mountain Legacy research project. Author of Nature by Design: People, Natural Process and Ecological Restoration, he focuses on advancing principles and practice of ecological restoration in a rapidly changing world.

Carol Hall has worked on community conservation issues in North America and Africa during the past 15 years. She is a co-author of the World Commission on Protected Areas’ Ecological Restoration for Protected Areas: Principles, guidelines and best practices (in press, Gland, Switzerland: IUCN), and currently Program Director for the Restoration Institute, University of Victoria. 

Table of Contents



Part I: Introduction.

1. Introduction: why novel ecosystems?
Hobbs, Higgs & Hall

Part II: What are novel ecosystems?

2. Case Study: Hole-in the-Donut, Everglades Ewel

3. Towards a conceptual framework for novel ecosystems
Hallett, Standish, Hulvey, Gardener, Suding, Starzomski, Murphy, Harris

4. Islands: Where novelty is the norm
Ewel, Mascaro, Kueffer, Lugo, Lach, Gardener

5. Origins of the novel ecosystems concept
Mascaro, Harris, Lach, Thompson, Perring, Richardson, Ellis

6. Call out: Defining novel ecosystems

Part III: What we know (and don’t know) about novel ecosystems

7. Perspective: Ecological novelty isn’t new

8. The extent of novel ecosystems: long in time and broad in space
Perring, Ellis

9. Case study: Geographic distribution and level of novelty of Puerto Rican forests 
Martinuzzi, Lugo, Brandeis, Helmer

10. Novel ecosystems and climate change
11. Plants invasions as builders and shapers of novel ecosystems.
Richardson, Gaertner

12. Infectious disease and novel ecosystems; the novel caribbean coral reef
Yakob, Mumby

13. Case study: Do feedbacks from the soil biota secure novelty in ecosystems?

14. Fauna and novel ecosystems
Kennedy, Lach, Lugo, Hobbs

15. Case study: Ecosystem transformations along the Colorado Front Range: Prairie dog interactions with multiple components of global environmental change
Seastedt, Hartley, Nippert
16. Perspective: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Part IV: When and how to intervene
17. Perspective: From rivets to rivers

18. Incorporating novel ecosystems into management frameworks
Hulvey, Standish, Hallett, Starzomski, Murphy, Nelson, Gardener, Kennedy, Seastedt, Suding

19. Case Study: The management framework in practice: Making decisions in Atlantic Canadian Meadows. Chasing the Elusive Reference State.

20. Case Study: The management framework in practice: Prairie dogs at the urban interface: Conservation solutions when ecosystem change drivers are beyond the scope of management actions

21. Case Study: The management framework in practice: How social barriers contribute to novel ecosystem maintenance:  Managing Reindeer Populations on St. George Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska Hulvey

22. Case Study: The management framework in practice: Can’t see the wood for the trees: the changing management of the novel Miconia-Cinchona ecosystem in the humid highlands of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

23. Case Study: The management framework in practice: Using the Decision Framework for Designer Wetlands as Novel Ecosystems.

24. Characterizing novel ecosystems: challenges for measurement
Harris, Murphy, Nelson, Perring, Tognetti
25. Case Study: Novelty measurement in Pampean grasslands

26. Plant materials for novel ecosystems
27. Case study: Management of novel ecosystems in the Seychelles
Kueffer, Beaver, Mougal

28. Perspective: Moving to the dark side

Part V: How do we appreciate novel ecosystems?

29. Perspective: Coming of age in a trash forest

30. Engaging the public in novel ecosystems
Yung, Schwarze, Carr, Chapin, Marris

31. Valuing novel ecosystems
Light, Thompson, Higgs

32. Case study: A rocky novel ecosystem: industrial origins to conservation concern

33. The policy context: building laws and rules that embrace novelty
Bridgewater, Yung

34. Perspective: Lake Burley Griffin

35. Case study: Shale “bings” in Central Scotland: from ugly blots on the landscape to cultural and biological heritage
Harvie, Hobbs

Part VI: What’s Next?

36. Perspective: A Tale of Two Natures

37. Concerns about novel ecosystems
Standish, Thompson, Higgs, Murphy

38. Novel urban ecosystems and ecosystem services
Perring, Manning, Hobbs, Lugo, Ramalho, Standish

39. Ecosystem stewardship as a framework for conservation in a directionally changing world
Seastedt, Suding, Chapin

40. Case study: Novel social-ecological systems in the north: potential pathways towards ecological and societal resilience
Chapin, Robards, Johnstone, Lantz, Kokelj

41. Perspective: Is everything a novel ecosystem? If so, do we need the concept?
Marris, Mascaro, Ellis

Part VII: Synthesis and conclusions

42. What do we know about, and what do we do about, novel ecosystems?
Hobbs, Higgs, Hall


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