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Invasion ecology is the study of the causes and consequences of the introduction of organisms to areas outside their native range. Interest in this field has exploded in the past few decades. Explaining why and how organisms are moved around the world, how and why some become established and invade, and how best to manage invasive species in the face of global change are all crucial issues that interest biogeographers, ecologists and environmental managers in all parts of the world. This book brings together the insights of more than 50 authors to examine the origins, foundations, current dimensions and potential trajectories of invasion ecology. It revisits key tenets of the foundations of invasion ecology, including contributions of pioneering naturalists of the 19th century, including Charles Darwin and British ecologist Charles Elton, whose 1958 monograph on invasive species is widely acknowledged as having focussed scientific attention on biological invasions.
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The two volumes of John Wiens' Ecology of Bird Communities have applications and importance to the whole field of ecology. The books contain a detailed synthesis of our current understanding of the patterns of organisation of bird communities and of the factors that may determine them, drawing from studies from all over the world. By emphasizing how proper logic and methods have or have not been followed and how different viewpoints have developed historically and have led to controversy, the scope of these books are extended far beyond the study of birds. Processes and Variations discusses the way in which bird community patterns have been interpreted. This second volume examines how the complexity and variability of natural environments may influence efforts to discern and understand the nature of these communities. Graduate students and professionals in avian biology and ecology will find these volumes a valuable stimulus and guide to future field studies and theory development.
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Is the world warming due to the Greenhouse Effect? Can nuclear weapon arsenals be relied upon without periodic testing? Is the world running out of oil? What action should be taken against an outbreak of foot-and-mouth or BSE? Why can't scientists provide certain answers to these and many other questions? The uncertainty of science is puzzling. It arises when scientists have more than one answer to a problem or disagree amongst themselves. In this engaging book, Henry Pollack guides the reader through the maze of contradiction and uncertainty, acquainting them with the ways that uncertainty arises in science, how scientists accommodate and make use of uncertainty, and how in the face of uncertainty they reach their conclusions. Taking examples from recent science headlines and every day life, Uncertain Science … Uncertain World enables the reader to evaluate uncertainty from their own perspectives, and find out more about how science actually works.
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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 approaches emphasizing native species and historical continuity are challenged by novel ecosystems that deliver critical ecosystems services or are simply immune to practical restorative efforts. Some fear that, by raising the issue of novel ecosystems, we are simply paving the way for a more laissez-faire attitude to conservation and restoration. Regardless of the range of views and perceptions about novel ecosystems, their existence is becoming ever more obvious and prevalent in today's rapidly changing world. In this first comprehensive volume to look at the ecological, social, cultural, ethical and policy dimensions of novel ecosystems, the authors argue these altered systems are overdue for careful analysis and that we need to figure out how to intervene in them responsibly. This book brings together researchers from a range of disciplines together with practitioners and policy makers to explore the questions surrounding novel ecosystems. It includes chapters on key concepts and methodologies for deciding when and how to intervene in systems, as well as a rich collection of case studies and perspective pieces. It will be a valuable resource for researchers, managers and policy makers interested in the question of how humanity manages and restores ecosystems in a rapidly changing world.
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What light does nearly twenty five years of scientific study of the Exxon Valdez oil spill shed on the fate and effects of a spill? How can the results help in assessing future spills? How can ecological risks be assessed and quantified? In this, the first book on the effects of Exxon Valdez in fifteen years, scientists directly involved in studying the spill provide a comprehensive perspective on, and synthesis of, scientific information on long-term spill effects. The coverage is multidisciplinary, with chapters discussing a range of issues including effects on biota, successes and failures of post-spill studies and techniques, and areas of continued disagreement. An even-handed and critical examination of more than two decades of scientific study, this is an invaluable guide for studying future oil spills and, more broadly, for unraveling the consequences of any large environmental disruption.
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The previous chapters have synthesized and evaluated the science that was brought to bear on the Exxon Valdez oil spill and its effects. Several overarching insights have emerged, including the importance of following a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach; of clearly defining one’s objectives to design rigorous studies and identify data requirements; of recognizing the value of natural processes in facilitating restoration or recovery from spill effects; of assessing and documenting exposure of organisms to harmful oil constituents from all sources; and of evaluating possible avenues of spill exposure and effects through risk assessment. These insights have been central to developing a science-based understanding of the environmental effects of the Exxon Valdez spill (see Box 17.1). In this chapter, I highlight these lessons and describe how they provide a foundation for dealing with future oil spills or other large environmental disruptions. I also explore several challenges that emerged during the Exxon Valdez studies. The confounding effects of environmental factors other than oil, natural variability of the environment, the attendant uncertainty in scientific data, and contradictory interpretations and disagreements among scientists present challenges in any high-profile and contentious situation, as major environmental accidents are likely to be. These factors confuse those looking to science for clear answers and straightforward guidance about what to do, and they foster public perceptions of conflicts between industry scientists and government scientists that diminish the credibility and value of the science itself.
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Outliers are observations that do not follow the statistical distribution of the bulk of the data, and consequently may lead to erroneous results with respect to statistical analysis. Many conventional outlier detection tools are based on the assumption that the data is identically and independently distributed. In this paper, an outlier-resistant data filter-cleaner is proposed. The proposed data filter-cleaner includes an on-line outlier-resistant estimate of the process model and combines it with a modified Kalman filter to detect and “clean” outliers. The advantage over existing methods is that the proposed method has the following features: (a) a priori knowledge of the process model is not required; (b) it is applicable to autocorrelated data; (c) it can be implemented on-line; and (d) it tries to only clean (i.e., detects and replaces) outliers and preserves all other information in the data.
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Ecologists are aware of the importance of natural dynamics in ecosystems. Historically, the focus has been on the development in succession of equilibrium communities, which has generated an understanding of the composition and functioning of ecosystems. Recently, many have focused on the processes of disturbances and the evolutionary significance of such events. This shifted emphasis has inspired studies in diverse systems. The phrase "patch dynamics" (Thompson, 1978) describes their common focus. The Ecology of Natural Disturbance and Patch Dynamics brings together the findings and ideas of those studying varied systems, presenting a synthesis of diverse individual contributions.
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This book outlines the creative process of making environmental management decisions using the approach called Structured Decision Making. It is a short introductory guide to this popular form of decision making and is aimed at environmental managers and scientists. This is a distinctly pragmatic label given to ways for helping individuals and groups think through tough multidimensional choices characterized by uncertain science, diverse stakeholders, and difficult tradeoffs. This is the everyday reality of environmental management, yet many important decisions currently are made on an ad hoc basis that lacks a solid value-based foundation, ignores key information, and results in selection of an inferior alternative. Making progress - in a way that is rigorous, inclusive, defensible and transparent - requires combining analytical methods drawn from the decision sciences and applied ecology with deliberative insights from cognitive psychology, facilitation and negotiation. The authors review key methods and discuss case-study examples based in their experiences in communities, boardrooms, and stakeholder meetings. The goal of this book is to lay out a compelling guide that will change how you think about making environmental decisions. © 2012 by R. Gregory, L. Failing, M. Harstone, G. Long, T. McDaniels, and D. Ohlson. All rights reserved.
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Paleoclimate data show that climate sensitivity is ~3 deg-C for doubled CO2, including only fast feedback processes. Equilibrium sensitivity, including slower surface albedo feedbacks, is ~6 deg-C for doubled CO2 for the range of climate states between glacial conditions and ice-free Antarctica. Decreasing CO2 was the main cause of a cooling trend that began 50 million years ago, large scale glaciation occurring when CO2 fell to 450 +/- 100 ppm, a level that will be exceeded within decades, barring prompt policy changes. If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm. The largest uncertainty in the target arises from possible changes of non-CO2 forcings. An initial 350 ppm CO2 target may be achievable by phasing out coal use except where CO2 is captured and adopting agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon. If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.
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a few weeks ago the president of a college in the prairie states came to see me. Clearly, when he tried to look into the future, he did not like what he saw: the grim prospects for the maintenance of peace, for the preservation of freedom, for the flourishing and growth of the humane values of our civilization. He seemed to have in mind that it might be well for people, even in his small college, to try to take some part in turning these prospects to a happier end; but what he said came as rather a shock. He said, “I wonder if you can help me. I have a very peculiar problem. You see, out there, most of the students, and the teachers too, come from the farm. They are used to planting seed, and then waiting for it to grow, and then harvesting it. They believe in time and in nature. It is rather hard to get them to take things into their own hands.” Perhaps, as much as anything, my theme will have to do with enlisting time and nature in the conduct of our international affairs: in the quest for peace and a freer world. This is not meant mystically, for the nature which we must enlist is that of man; and if there is hope in it, that lies not in man’s reason. What elements are there in the conduct of foreign affairs which may be conducive to the exercise of that reason, which may provide a climate for the growth of new experience, new insight and new understanding? How can we recognize such growth, and be sensitive to its hopeful meaning, while there is yet time, through action based on understanding, to direct the outcome?
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Rapp, Valerie. 2008. Northwest Forest Plan - the first 10 years (1994-2003): first-decade results of the Northwest Forest Plan. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-720. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 42 p. The Northwest Forest Plan (the Plan) was developed in 1994 to resolve debates over old-growth forests and endangered species on federal forests in the range of the northern spotted owl. In 2005, federal agencies reviewed the first 10 years under the Plan to learn what worked and what did not, what changed, and what new information or surprises might influence these forests in the future. I highlight the monitoring results and new science from that review. Following are some of the key findings. Nearly all existing older forest habitat on federal land was protected from timber harvest. Older forest on federal land had a net increase of over 1 million acres in the first 10 years of the Plan. Despite protection of northern spotted owl habitat on federal land, spotted owl populations declined at a greater rate than expected in the northern half of their range, likely because of barred owl competition, climate, and the changing condition of historical habitat. Watershed condition improved slightly, because of reduced harvest in riparian areas, tree growth, and increased emphasis on restoration. Federal timber harvest in the Plan area averaged only 54 percent of Plan goals. In spite of mitigation measures, some local communities near federal lands had job losses and other adverse effects. State, federal, and tribal governments worked together on forest issues better than they ever had before. Increased collaboration with communities changed how the agencies get work done.
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Allen Thompson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University. Jeremy Bendik-Keymer is Elmer G. Beamer-Hubert H. Schneider Professor in Ethics and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of The Ecological Life: Discovering Citizenship and a Sense of Humanity. © 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.
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American Matt O'Toole is bringing a new marketing approach to the conservative business of hockey - a decidedly Canadian domain.
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Robert H. MacArthur and Edward O. Wilson'sThe Theory of Island Biogeography, first published by Princeton in 1967, is one of the most influential books on ecology and evolution to appear in the past half century. By developing a general mathematical theory to explain a crucial ecological problem--the regulation of species diversity in island populations--the book transformed the science of biogeography and ecology as a whole. InThe Theory of Island Biogeography Revisited, some of today's most prominent biologists assess the continuing impact of MacArthur and Wilson's book four decades after its publication. Following an opening chapter in which Wilson reflects on island biogeography in the 1960s, fifteen chapters evaluate and demonstrate how the field has extended and confirmed--as well as challenged and modified--MacArthur and Wilson's original ideas. Providing a broad picture of the fundamental ways in which the science of island biogeography has been shaped by MacArthur and Wilson's landmark work,The Theory of Island Biogeography Revisitedalso points the way toward exciting future research.
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Natural resource managers face a complex decision-making environment characterized by the potential occurrence of rapid and abrupt ecological change. These abrupt changes are poorly accommodated by traditional natural resource planning and decision-making processes. As recognition of threshold processes has increased, contemporary models of ecological systems have been modified to better represent a broader range of ecological system dynamics. Key conceptual advances associated with the ideas of non-linear responses, the existence of multiple ecological stable states and critical thresholds are more likely the rule than the exception in ecological systems. Once an ecological threshold is crossed, the ecosystem in question is not likely to return to its previous state. There are many examples and a general consensus that climatic disruptions will drive now stable systems across ecological thresholds. This book provides professional resource managers with a broad general decision framework that illustrates the utility of including ecological threshold concepts in natural resource management. It gives an entry into the literature in this rapidly evolving concept, with descriptions and discussion of the promising statistical approaches for threshold detection and demonstrations of the utility of the threshold framework via a series of case studies. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014. All rights are reserved.
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Environmentalism, in theory and practice, is concerned with protecting nature. But if we have now reached “the end of nature,” as Bill McKibben and other environmental thinkers have declared, what is there left to protect? In Thinking like a Mall, Steven Vogel argues that environmental thinking would be better off if it dropped the concept of “nature” altogether and spoke instead of the “environment” –– that is, the world that actually surrounds us, which is always a built world, the only one that we inhabit. We need to think not so much like a mountain (as Aldo Leopold urged) as like a mall. Shopping malls, too, are part of the environment and deserve as much serious consideration from environmental thinkers as do mountains. Vogel argues provocatively that environmental philosophy, in its ethics, should no longer draw a distinction between the natural and the artificial and, in its politics, should abandon the idea that something beyond human practices (such as “nature”) can serve as a standard determining what those practices ought to be. The appeal to nature distinct from the built environment, he contends, may be not merely unhelpful to environmental thinking but in itself harmful to that thinking. The question for environmental philosophy is not “how can we save nature?” but rather “what environment should we inhabit, and what practices should we engage in to help build it?”.
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The concept of population regulation by density-dependent processes underpins most ecological theory, and yet has been the focus of more heated argument and discussion than any other idea in ecology. People have argued over the definitions of population regulation, the necessity for density dependence for population persistence, the frequency with which density dependence occurs in natural systems, and the best ways to detect density dependence and to identify regulated populations. Although there is now a broad consensus that a regulated population has a long-term, stationary probability distribution of population densities, implying some mean level around which the population fluctuates (Turchin, 1995), there is still disagreement about the processes involved in achieving this. Despite the simplicity of the ideas, ecologists somehow continue “to muddle the basic issues of the very existence of their study objects” (Hanski et al, 1993a).
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The author's 1990 book Discordant Harmonies was considered by many to be the classic text of the environmental movement. The book was the first to challenge the then dominant view that nature remained constant over time unless disturbed by human influence. Nature was believed to achieve a form and structure that would persist forever; if disturbed, it would recover, returning to that state of perfect balance. Discordant Harmonies argued that natural ecological systems are constantly fluctuating and our plans, policies, and laws governing the environment must change to reflect this new understanding. The ideas expressed in Discordant Harmonies, considered ahead of their time in 1990, are now timelier than ever. The belief in a balanced nature is alive and well, though those who hold it are constantly confronted by scientific evidence that stands in opposition. This book brings Discordant Harmonies into the twenty-first century. The book is updated with new research and statistics, case studies on climate change, and a new introduction.
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IntroductionA Landscape Transformed (C. 6000 -600 Years BP)The Formation of the “Modern Landscape” (From about 600-60 Years BP)A Quickening Pace of Land-Use Change (From about 60 Years BP Onward)Contributions of Historical Ecology to Modern ConservationConclusions References
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A New Environmental Ethics: the Next Millennium for Life on Earth offers clear, powerful, and oftentimes moving thoughts from one of the first and most respected philosophers to write on the environment. Rolston, an early and leading pioneer in studying the moral relationship between humans and the earth, surveys the full spectrum of approaches in the field of environmental ethics. This book, however, is not simply a judicious overview. Instead, it offers critical assessments of contemporary academic accounts and draws on a lifetime of research and experience to suggest an outlook for the future. As a result, this focused, forward-looking analysis will be a necessary complement to any balanced textbook or anthology in environmental ethics, and will teach its readers to be responsible global citizens, and residents of their landscape, helping ensure that the future we have will be the one we wish for.
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Ecology has long been shaped by ideas that stress the sharing of resources and the competition for those resources, and by the assumption that populations and communities typically exist under equilibrium conditions in habitats saturated with both individuals and species. However, much evidence contradicts these assumptions and it is likely that nonequilibrium is much more widespread than might be expected. This book is unique in focusing on nonequilibrium aspects of ecology, providing evidence for nonequilibrium and equilibrium in populations (and metapopulations), in extant communities and in ecological systems over evolutionary time, including nonequilibrium due to recent and present mass extinctions. The assumption that competition is of overriding importance is central to equilibrium ecology, and much space is devoted to its discussion. As communities of some taxa appear to be shaped more by competition than others, an attempt is made to find an explanation for these differences.
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IntroductionEcological History and HRVBeyond Baselines: The Extended HRV ConceptGeorge Webber's DilemmaAcknowledgmentsReferences
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This book outlines how to conduct a complete environmental risk assessment. The first part documents the psychology and philosophy of risk perception and assessment, introducing a taxonomy of uncertainty and the importance of context. It provides a critical examination of the use and abuse of expert judgement and goes on to outline approaches to hazard identification and subjective ranking that account for uncertainty and context. The second part of the book describes technical tools that can assist risk assessments to be transparent and internally consistent. These include interval arithmetic, ecotoxicological methods, logic trees and Monte Carlo simulation. These methods have an established place in risk assessments in many disciplines and their strengths and weaknesses are explored. The last part of the book outlines some new approaches, including p-bounds and information-gap theory, and describes how quantitative and subjective assessments can be used to make transparent decisions.