That’s novel

A new text on novel ecosystems

Land conversion, climate change and species invasions are contributing to the widespread emergence of novel ecosystems. Dealing with them demands a shift in how we think about traditional approaches to conservation, restoration and environmental management.

These systems 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, especially those 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. (See Decision Point #70, p4, for an editorial where I reflect on the source of the fears and controversy surrounding notions of novel ecosystems.)

Regardless of the range of views and perceptions about novel ecosystems, their existence can’t be denied; they are becoming ever more obvious and prevalent in today’s rapidly changing world. Given this, our new ecological book – Novel Ecosystems: Intervening in the New Ecological World Order – it a timely addition to the literature on this topic…

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