Ecological Change on California's Channel Islands from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene

July 18, 2014 by Scott Sillett

Historical ecology is becoming an important focus in conservation biology and offers a promising tool to help guide ecosystem management. Here, we integrate data from multiple disciplines to illuminate the past, present, and future of biodiversity on California's Channel Islands, an archipelago that has undergone a wide range of land-use and ecological changes.

Our analysis spans approximately 20,000 years, from before human occupation and through Native American hunter–gatherers, commercial ranchers and fishers, the US military, and other land managers.

We demonstrate how long-term, interdisciplinary research provides insight into conservation decisions, such as setting ecosystem restoration goals, preserving rare and endemic taxa, and reducing the impacts of climate change on natural and cultural resources. We illustrate the importance of historical perspectives for understanding modern patterns and ecological change and present an approach that can be applied generally in conservation management planning.

This article summarizes the information in this scientific paper:

Ecological Change on California's Channel Islands from the Pleistocene to the Anthropocene. Torben C. Rick, T. Scott Sillett, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Courtney A. Hofman, Katherine Ralls, R. Scott Anderson, Christina L. Boser, Todd J. Braje, Daniel R. Cayan, R. Terry Chesser, Paul W. Collins, Jon M. Erlandson, Kate R. Faulkner, Robert Fleischer, W. Chris Funk, Russell Galipeau, Ann Huston, Julie King, Lyndal Laughrin, Jesus Maldonado, Kathryn McEachern, Daniel R. Muhs, Seth D. Newsome, Leslie Reeder-Myers, Christopher Still, and Scott A. Morrison. BioScience. first published online July 16, 2014 doi:10.1093/biosci/biu094.

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