PerspectiveEcology

How ecosystems change

Science  29 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6272, pp. 448-449
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad6758

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Summary

Human impacts on the planet, including anthropogenic climate change, are reshaping ecosystems in unprecedented ways. To meet the challenge of conserving biodiversity in this rapidly changing world, we must understand how ecological assemblages respond to novel conditions (1). However, species in ecosystems are not fixed entities, even without human-induced change. All ecosystems experience natural turnover in species presence and abundance. Taking account of this baseline turnover in conservation planning could play an important role in protecting biodiversity.