Novel ecosystems: challenges and opportunities for the Anthropocene

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Title: Novel ecosystems: challenges and opportunities for the Anthropocene
Authors: Collier, Marcus
Devitt, Catherine
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Date: 27-Jul-2016
Abstract: Novel ecosystems are ecological assemblages that have emerged in the landscapes of the Anthropocene, where an ecological abiotic or biotic threshold has been passed and can no longer be restored to a previous state. In such landscapes, novelty is attributed to unanticipated rapid anthropogenic environmental change, and deliberate land use practices, and can be characterised by the arrival over time of differing species assemblages and extent. While little has been explored in the literature with respect to the policy implications of novel ecosystems, calls have been made for a better understanding of the barriers to adopting novel ecosystems within mainstream policy. This review reports on a qualitative literature analysis carried out in order to identify the challenges and opportunities for transposing novel ecosystem theory into mainstream policy. Though published debate is still emerging, eleven policy challenges broadly conforming to three themes were identified. Within these themes three opportunity areas were identified, revealing that more focussed discussion is required on the wider policy implications of novel ecosystems beyond the stated concerns about lowering standards in ecological conservation. The analysis also shows that there exists a greater understanding of the challenges to transposing novel ecosystems in policy, as opposed to the possible opportunities under current policy timeframes. While a resilience framework has been put forward to offer an outline for policy makers, mechanisms for incorporating novel ecosystem theory into policy and decision making is some distance off.
Funding Details: Enterprise Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Sage Publications
Journal: Anthropocene Review
Volume: 3
Issue: 3
Start page: 231
End page: 242
Keywords: Novel ecosystemsAnthropocenePolicy-makingResilience
DOI: 10.1177/2053019616662053
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy Research Collection

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