Novel ecosystems and the emergence of cultural ecosystem services
28T16:29:11Z July 2014
Many landscapes are severely depleted of ecosystem services, especially industrial ones. Yet, abandoned and, in some cases, regenerating areas are often situated within a wider cultural landscape. With minimal further disturbance these ‘novel ecosystems’ have the potential for recovering some of the ecosystem services that were removed or impeded during and after human management activities, especially cultural services. Novel ecosystems are anthropogenic landscapes that cannot be returned to their original ecological status. However, some novel ecosystems may provide ecosystem services that were minimal or perhaps absent from their original form. This presents a dilemma for policy makers and planners, who now strive to meet societal expectations to restore ecosystems and recapture lost services. It is especially poignant when seeking to develop policy prescriptions that operationalise cultural ecosystem services into planning and design. Little is known of the potential for drawing on a novel ecosystem framework when developing prescriptions for these planners and policy makers. This short communication re-visits earlier social–ecological research in a post-industrial landscape to illustrate how a novel ecosystem may offer insight into operationalising ecosystem service policies in damaged and recovering landscapes. Because novel ecosystems have stimulated debate and disagreement among ecologists, this paper offers a new perspective on the issue. Drawing on research into post-industrial peatlands, this paper identifies a timeline for the recovery of some ecosystem services in novel ecosystems, including some that were absent from their original state.
European Union OPERAs Project
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