Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Managing ecosystems in a changing climate

EurekAlert via the Ecological Society of America: Global warming may impair the ability of ecosystems to perform vital services—such as providing food, clean water and carbon sequestration—says the nation's largest organization of ecological scientists. In a statement released today, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) outlines strategies that focus on restoring and maintaining natural ecosystem functions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

"Decision-makers cannot overlook the critical services ecosystems provide," says ESA President Mary Power. "If we are going to reduce the possibility of irreversible damage to the environment under climate change, we need to take swift but measured action to protect and manage our ecosystems."

ESA recommends four approaches to limiting adverse effects of climate change through ecosystem management:
  • Prioritize low-alteration strategies. …
  • Critically evaluate management-intensive strategies. ….
  • Acknowledge the ecological implications of geoengineering. …
  • Address long-term risks. …
In addition to mitigating climate change, steps should be taken to prepare ecosystems to withstand climate change impacts. Human activity has impaired the natural resilience of many ecosystems. ESA outlines four adaptation strategies to safeguard ecosystem services in the face of climate change:
  • Take additional steps to protect water quality and quantity. …
  • Enable natural species migration across human dominated landscapes.
  • Improve capacity to predict extreme events. ….
  • Manage collaboratively at the ecosystem level. ….
Wetlands alongside the Morava river (Gest├╝twiese), near Hohenau an der March, Lower Austria, shot by Stanislav Doronenko (nazdar!), Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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