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Ecosystem Dynamics: From the Past to the Future



Ecosystem Dynamics: From the Past to the Future

Richard H. W. Bradshaw, Martin T. Sykes

ISBN: 978-1-118-52519-7 March 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 336 Pages

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Ecosystem Dynamics focuses on long-term terrestrial ecosystems and their changing relationships with human societies.  The unique aspect of this text is the long-time scale under consideration as data and insights from the last 10,000 years are used to place present-day ecosystem status into a temporal perspective and to test models that generate forecasts of future conditions. Descriptions and assessments of some of the current modelling tools that are used, along with their uncertainties and assumptions, are an important feature of this book. An overarching theme explores the dynamic interactions between human societies and ecosystem functioning and services.

This book is authoritative but accessible and provides a useful background for all students, practitioners, and researchers interested in the subject.

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Acknowledgements ix

About the companion website xi

1 Where Are We and How Did We Arrive Here? 1

1.1 Why this book? 1

1.2 Ecosystems in crisis 2

1.3 Relevance of the past 5

1.4 Forecasting the future 7

1.5 Chapter details and logic 9

1.6 For whom is the book intended? 12

1.7 Four key questions and the links to policy 13

2 Modelling 15

2.1 Introduction 15

2.2 Background ecosystem, vegetation and species models 18

2.3 Dynamic modelling 36

2.4 Integrating models 44

2.5 Further reading 48

3 Data 49

3.1 Introduction 49

3.2 Which data are relevant? 50

3.3 Ecosystem dynamics: direct observation 51

3.4 Ecosystem dynamics: indirect measurement or ‘proxy’ data 56

3.5 ‘Drivers’ of ecosystem dynamics 67

3.6 Databases 70

3.7 Gaps in available data and approaches 70

4 Climate Change and Millennial Ecosystem Dynamics: A Complex Relationship 73

4.1 Introduction 73

4.2 Reconstructing climate from biological data 74

4.3 The very long records of vegetation dynamics 78

4.4 Holocene records 81

4.5 Modelling of Holocene vegetation dynamics to help understand pollen data 83

4.6 Simulating Fennoscandian Holocene forest dynamics 94

4.7 Climate and megafaunal extinction 101

4.8 So how important is climate change for future millennial ecosystem dynamics? 103

5 The Role of Episodic Events in Millennial Ecosystem Dynamics: Where the Wild Strawberries Grow 109

5.1 Introduction 109

5.2 Fire 115

5.3 Forest pathogens during the Holocene 131

5.4 Hurricanes and wind damage (other large, infrequent disturbances) 135

5.5 Conclusion 139

6 The Impact of Past and Future Human Exploitation on Terrestrial Ecosystem Dynamics 141

6.1 Introduction 141

6.2 Denmark: case study of human impact during the Holocene 146

6.3 Islands: sensitive indicators of human impact 152

6.4 Human influence on Mediterranean, temperate and boreal forests 157

6.5 The tropics 163

6.6 Spatial upscaling of the timing and ecosystem consequences of human impact 164

7 Millennial Ecosystem Dynamics and Their Relationship to Ecosystem Services: Past and Future 173

7.1 Introduction 173

7.2 MEA classification 176

7.3 The current crisis in ecosystem services 179

7.4 Ecosystem services and the future 193

7.5 Relating the maintenance of biodiversity to ecosystem service provision 197

7.6 Scenarios of possible futures: some different approaches 197

7.7 So what do scenarios say about the possible futures for ecosystem services? 204

8 Cultural Ecosystem Services 211

8.1 Introduction 211

8.2 Sacred sites and species 212

8.3 Cultural landscapes: biodiverse relicts of former land-use systems 219

8.4 Hunting as a cultural ecosystem service 221

9 Conservation 225

9.1 Conservation as we know it 225

9.2 Knowledge of the past: relevance for conservation 228

9.3 Conservation in practice: protected areas (Natura 2000) 242

9.4 Conservation and alien or invasive species 244

9.5 Global change, biodiversity and conservation in the future 253

9.6 Conclusion 257

10 Where Are We Headed? 259

10.1 Introduction 259

10.2 Emergent themes and important underlying concepts 262

References 271

Glossary 297

Index 311

“Personal anecdotes enliven the writing and add a human touch; for graduate students, these will serve as important reminders that there is much to learn outside the laboratory.”  (Choice, 1 February 2015)