The role of paleoecology in restoration and resource management—The past as a guide to future decision-making: Review and example from the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, U.S.A

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Resource managers around the world are challenged to develop feasible plans for sustainable conservation and/or restoration of the lands, waters, and wildlife they administer—a challenge made greater by anticipated climate change and associated effects over the next century. Increasingly, paleoecologic and geologic archives are being used to extend the period of record of observed data and provide information on centennial to millennial scale responses to long-term drivers of ecosystem change. The development of paleoecology from an emerging field investigating past environments to a highly relevant applied science is reviewed and general examples of the application of paleoecologic research to resource management questions in diverse habitats and regions are provided. Specific examples of the application of paleoecologic research to the restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem of south Florida (U.S.A) are presented. Conducting valuable scientific research that would benefit resource management decisions, however, is not enough. Scientists and resource managers need to be engaged in collaborative discussions from the beginning of the research process to ensure that management questions are being addressed and that the science reaches the people who will benefit from the information. Paleoecology and related disciplines provide an understanding of how ecosystems and individual species function and change over time in response to both natural and anthropogenic drivers. Information on pre-anthropogenic baseline conditions is provided by paleoecologic research, but it is the detection of long-term trends and cycles that allow resource managers to set realistic goals and targets by moving away from the fixed-point baseline concept to one of dynamic landscapes that anticipates and incorporates an expectation of change into decision-making.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The role of paleoecology in restoration and resource management—The past as a guide to future decision-making: Review and example from the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, U.S.A
Series title Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
DOI 10.3389/fevo.2017.00011
Volume 5
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Frontiers Media
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description Article 11: 24 p.
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Greater Everglades Ecosystem