Ecological Restoration in the Light of Ecological History

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Science  31 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5940, pp. 567-569
DOI: 10.1126/science.1172977

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Ecological history plays many roles in ecological restoration, most notably as a tool to identify and characterize appropriate targets for restoration efforts. However, ecological history also reveals deep human imprints on many ecological systems and indicates that secular climate change has kept many targets moving at centennial to millennial time scales. Past and ongoing environmental changes ensure that many historical restoration targets will be unsustainable in the coming decades. Ecological restoration efforts should aim to conserve and restore historical ecosystems where viable, while simultaneously preparing to design or steer emerging novel ecosystems to ensure maintenance of ecological goods and services.

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