Eric S. Higgs

Eric S. Higgs
University of Victoria | UVIC · School of Environmental Studies

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77
Publications
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6,504
Citations

Publications

Publications (77)
Article
Full-text available
Abstract While orthogonal (i.e., aerial or satellite) imagery has become the more conventional source of land cover data because it can yield spatially accurate land cover maps, terrestrial oblique photographs present a valuable, relatively untapped source of raw optical data for studies of land cover change. We present a case study contrasting how...
Article
In response to our recent article (Higgs et al. 2018) in these pages, George Gann and his coauthors defended the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) International Standards, clarified several points, and introduced some new perspectives. We offer this counter‐response to address some of these perspectives. More than anything, our aims are in s...
Article
Full-text available
The Society for Ecological Restoration has long debated how to define best practices. We argue that a principles-first offers more flexibility for restoration practitioners than a standards-based approach, is consistent with the developmental stage of restoration, and functions more effectively at a global level. However, the solution is not as sim...
Article
Full-text available
Food forestry is a burgeoning practice in North America, representing a strong multifunctional approach that combines agriculture, forestry, and ecological restoration. The Galiano Conservancy Association (GCA), a community conservation, restoration, and educational organization on Galiano Island, British Columbia in Canada, recently has created tw...
Article
Full-text available
Mountains are crucial places in which to observe, experience, and learn about rapid weather and climate shifts, felt to varying degrees in different contexts. Fire lookout observers, immersed in the mountain environments of Alberta, Canada, for 5 to 6 months of the year, many of them returning to the same place for over 3 decades, have a distinctiv...
Article
Food forests—edible, perennial, polyculture systems—are of increasing interest in North America and the United Kingdom, as reflected in projects ranging from urban food initiatives to integrated conservation and restoration planning. To examine emerging food forestry (FF) against the backdrop of ecological restoration (ER), we conducted semi-struct...
Article
Full-text available
Large dam removals are emerging as an important ecosystem restoration tool, and they often have direct influence on the marine nearshore zone, but dam removal plans give little consideration to nearshore restoration. We provide an overview of the relationship between large-scale dam removals and nearshore restoration, using the Elwha dam removal pr...
Article
Unprecedented rates of environmental change complicate priority setting for conservation, restoration, and ecosystem management. Setting priorities, or considering the value of ecosystems and the cost and likely effectiveness of management actions required, is like deciding which paintings to save first if an art gallery catches fire: A few masterp...
Article
Full-text available
Since 1996, Mountain Legacy Project (MLP) researchers have been exploring change in Canada's mountain environments through the use of systematic repeat photography. With access to upwards of 120,000 systematic glass plate negatives from Canada's mountain west, the MLP field teams seek to stand where historic surveyors stood and accurately reshoot t...
Article
Growing attention to novel and designed ecosystems, and the confusion that follows from the overlap of these distinct ecosystem approaches, risks a loss of focus on ecological values at the core of restoration ecology. Novel ecosystems originate in ecosystems that are transformed beyond which the practical efforts of conventional restoration are fe...
Article
Full-text available
At the September 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, governments rallied around an international agreement—the New York Declaration on Forests—that underscored restoration of degraded ecosystems as an auspicious solution to climate change. Ethiopia committed to restore more than one-sixth of its land. Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guate...
Article
In this paper, we present a challenging dataset for the purpose of segmentation and change detection in photographic images of mountain habitats. We also propose a baseline algorithm for habitats segmentation to allow for performance comparison. The dataset consists of high resolution image pairs of historic and repeat photographs of mountain habit...
Article
Full-text available
The reality confronting ecosystem managers today is one of heterogeneous, rapidly transforming landscapes, particularly in the areas more affected by urban and agricultural development. A landscape management framework that incorporates all systems, across the spectrum of degrees of alteration, provides a fuller set of options for how and when to i...
Article
Full-text available
In the face of rapid environmental and cultural change, orthodox concepts in restoration ecology such as historical fidelity are being challenged. Here we re-examine the diverse roles played by historical knowledge in restoration, and argue that these roles remain vitally important. As such, historical knowledge will be critical in shaping restorat...
Article
Ecological restoration is set to play a key role in mitigating biodiversity loss. While many restorationists worry about what to do about and what to call rapidly changing ecosystems (no-analog, novel, or other terms), ecologists and managers in some parts of the world have avoided these controversies and proceeded with developing and implementing...
Chapter
This introductory chapter of Novel Ecosystems: Intervening in the New Ecological World Order provides a gist of the contents discussed in the book and explains the way the book is organized. The Galapagos case is one of many treated in this book, and from these it draws broader lessons and approaches. The book presents a challenge to the conservati...
Chapter
This conclusory chapter of Novel Ecosystems: Intervening in the New Ecological World Order reflects on some of the ongoing points of discussion and key themes emerging in the book. It offers a few last thoughts on how we start to apply these ideas to intervening in a new ecological world order. The chapters, case studies and perspectives in this bo...
Chapter
This chapter defines novel ecosystems and presents a simplified view of this definition by illustrating the relationship between historical, hybrid and novel ecosystems, based on the degree of change from historical conditions and reversibility of that change. It offers a working definition that has endured many conversations and reflections. A nov...
Chapter
This chapter aims to reconcile the complex ethical dynamics of novel ecosystems. First, the chapter talks about the articulation of some of the ecological values present in novel ecosystems, and provides an initial taxonomy. Next, the attention turns to the field of environmental ethics, which focuses on the moral status of environments. The chapte...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter focuses on two types of concerns about novel ecosystems. The first concern is connected with misapprehensions that arise, mostly from lack of information or misunderstanding of the implications of managing novel ecosystems. These concerns should not be ignored or underestimated because they can easily obstruct an informed and construct...
Chapter
Ten years ago, the author wrote 'A tale of two wildernesses' in Nature By Design. His perspective was formed by field research in Jasper National Park, an icon of Canadian wilderness, and the recently completed Wilderness Lodge at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The author wondered what these two different views of nature had in common, and what...
Book
Land conversion, climate change and species invasions are contributing to the widespread emergence of novel ecosystems, which demand a shift in how we think about traditional approaches to conservation, restoration and environmental management. They are novel because they exist without historical precedents and are self-sustaining. Traditional appr...
Chapter
Climate change, species invasions, and changes in social practices and cultural beliefs about nature are creating new ecosystems, some of which have no apparent roots in the past. The emergence of hybrid (familiar ecosystems with new combinations) and novel (unfamiliar) ecosystems challenges conventional ecological restoration practices, which plac...
Article
Full-text available
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill threatened many coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico during the spring and summer of 2010. Mitigation strategies included the construction of barrier sand berms, the restriction or blocking of inlets, and the diversion of freshwater from rivers to the coastal marshes and into the ocean, in order to flush away the...
Article
Full-text available
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill threatened many coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico during the spring and summer of 2010. Mitigation strategies included the construction of barrier sand berms, the restriction or blocking of inlets, and the diversion of freshwater from rivers to the coastal marshes and into the ocean, in order to flush away the...
Article
The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism has the potential to provide the developing nations with significant funding for forest restoration activities that contribute to climate change mitigation, sustainable management, and carbon-stock enhancement. In order to stimulate and inform discussion on the role...
Conference Paper
This study reports on the quantitative evaluation of a set of state-ofthe- art feature detectors in the context of repeat photography. Unlike most related work, the proposed study assesses the performance of feature detectors when intra-pair variations are uncontrolled and due to a variety of factors (landscape change, weather conditions, different...
Article
Indirect effects from climate‐driven changes in ecosystems that are remote from direct human activity pose challenges for ecological restoration. Significant and often indirect impacts on alpine ecosystems, the primary ecosystem under consideration in this article, threaten historical‐reference conditions and the viability of some species. The impe...
Article
The major challenge to stewardship of protected areas is to decide where, when, and how to intervene in physical and biological processes, to conserve what we value in these places. To make such decisions, planners and managers must articulate more clearly the purposes of parks, what is valued, and what needs to be sustained. A key aim for conserva...
Article
Many ecosystems are rapidly being transformed into new, non-historical configurations owing to a variety of local and global changes. We discuss how new systems can arise in the face of primarily biotic change (extinction and/or invasion), primarily abiotic change (e.g. land use or climate change) and a combination of both. Some changes will result...
Article
Full-text available
Urban greenspaces are vital to a community since it is a place to walk and play or just to break the densely populated area of the urban zone. However, these celebrated landmarks of ecological richness remain islands in a sea of urban life. The challenge is to reconfigure urban design, zoning, economics and development to encourage a systemic appro...
Article
Throop and Purdom’s proposal for virtues based restoration is consistent with my concept of focal restoration, but their interpretation conflates focal restoration with participatory restoration. We disagree on the meaning of wilderness and on the appropriate underlying relationship between nature and culture, which affects how each of us regards t...
Article
Ecological restoration is the process of repairing human damage to ecosystems. It involves reintroducing missing plants and animals, rebuilding soils, eliminating hazardous substances, ripping up roads, and returning natural processes such as fire and flooding to places that thrive on their regular occurrence. Thousands of restoration projects take...
Article
There is an increasing consensus that global climate change occurs and that potential changes in climate are likely to have important regional consequences for biota and ecosystems. Ecological restoration, including (re)-afforestation and rehabilitation of degraded land, is included in the array of potential human responses to cli-mate change. Howe...
Book
Full-text available
Restoring the Pacific Northwest brings together a vast array of information on the science and practice of restoration across the broadly defined Pacific Northwest Region of the USA, and the Sothwest of Canada, From Alaska to Northern California, and east from the Pacific coast to western Montana and Idaho.
Article
The Pacific Northwest is a global ecological "hotspot" because of its relatively healthy native ecosystems, a high degree of biodiversity, and the number and scope of restoration initiatives that have been undertaken there. Restoring the Pacific Northwest gathers and presents the best examples of state-of-the-art restoration techniques and projects...
Article
Full-text available
Inuit hunters of the Igloolik region orient themselves on the land by understanding wind behaviour, snowdrift patterns, animal behaviour, tidal cycles, currents, and astronomical phenomena. Inuit wayfinding methods are burdensome to learn, requiring years of quiet tutoring and experience, but are perfectly reliable. Concern arose in the mid-1990s t...
Article
The terms “ecological restoration” and “restoration ecology” are frequently interchanged. Restoration ecology is the suite of scientific practices that constitute an emergent subdiscipline of ecology. Ecological restoration is the ensemble of practices that constitute the entire field of restoration, including restoration ecology as well as the par...
Article
Can we use technology in the pursuit of a good life, or are we doomed to having our lives organized and our priorities set by the demands of machines and systems? How can philosophy help us to make technology a servant rather than a master? Technology and the Good Life? uses a careful collective analysis of Albert Borgmann's controversial and influ...
Article
Full-text available
Repeat ground photographs (taken in 1915 and 1997) from a series of topographical survey stations and repeat aerial photographs (flown in 1949 and 1991) were analysed to assess changes in vegetation composition and distribution in the montane ecoregion of Jasper National Park, in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. A quantitative approach for a...
Article
This paper investigates North American concepts of nature and wilderness as they are represented in the themed environment of the Wilderness Lodge at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Disney's many representations of nature draw on long social and cultural histories of the concept of nature in America, incorporating ideas and stereotypes about wild...
Article
The rapid rise of ecological restoration is forcing consideration of what good restoration entails. Defining an end point for restoration is as much an ethical matter as a technical one, but scientifically trained restorationists have largely ignored the former issue. I argue that good restoration requires an expanded view that includes historical,...
Article
Discussion of ecological restoration in environmental ethics has tended to center on issues about the nature and character of the values that may or may not be produced by restored landscapes. In this paper we shift the philosophical discus-sion to another set of issues: the social and political context in which restorations are performed. We offer...
Article
An alternative to conventional instrumentalist views of technology is put forward to show that pattern-based theories of technology permit a more faithful description of certain effects of technological change. In particular, it is argued that the instrumentalist view of technology misrepresents the character of modern planning and seriously undere...
Article
The recognition of a greater role for value concerns in natural resource allocation policies and the shift to more biocentric moral perspectives in our treatment of the environment have considerable implications for natural resource allocation policy in the future. These issues are documented in the context of allocation policies in the Great Lakes...
Article
The recognition of a greater role for value concerns in natural resource allocation policies and the shift to more biocentric moral perspectives in our treatment of the environment have considerable implications for natural resource allocation policy in the future. These issues are documented in the context of allocation policies in the Great Lakes...
Article
The need to explicitly allocate resources in the Great Lakes basin has been growing in response to policies of greater social equity, amelioration of degradative uses of the resource and ensuring adequate long-term supplies of the resource. At the same time resource allocation decisions have been increasing in complexity in relation to population g...

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