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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Restoration resilience: buffering against climate change

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Posted: 29 Mar 2017 11:57 AM PDT  ScienceDaily article here

A new paper by the University of Washington and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center aims to provide clarity among scientists, resource managers and planners on what ecological resilience means and how it can be achieved….

….Timpane-Padgham scoured the scientific literature for all mentions of ecological resilience, then pared down the list of relevant articles to 170 examined for this study. She then identified in each paper the common attributes, or metrics, that contribute to resilience among species, populations or ecosystems. For example, genetic diversity and population density were commonly mentioned in the literature as attributes that help populations either recover from or resist disturbance…[they then] grouped the various resilience attributes into five large categories, based on whether they affected individual plants or animals; whole populations; entire communities of plants and animals; ecosystems; or ecological processes…

The researchers say this work could be useful for people who manage ecosystem restoration projects and want to improve the chances of success under climate change. They could pick from the ordered list of attributes that relate specifically to their project and begin incorporating tactics that promote resilience from the start.

Specifying resilience attributes that are appropriate for the system and that can be measured repeatably will help move resilience from concept to practice,” Klinger said…”The threat of climate change and its impacts is a considerable issue that should be looked at from the beginning of a restoration project. It needs to be its own planning objective,” Timpane-Padgham said….

Britta L. Timpane-Padgham, Tim Beechie, Terrie Klinger. A systematic review of ecological attributes that confer resilience to climate change in environmental restoration. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (3): e0173812 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173812

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