24. Characterizing Novel Ecosystems: Challenges for Measurement

  1. Richard J. Hobbs5,
  2. Eric S. Higgs6 and
  3. Carol M. Hall6
  1. James A. Harris1,
  2. Stephen D. Murphy2,
  3. Cara R. Nelson3,
  4. Michael P. Perring5 and
  5. Pedro M. Tognetti4

Published Online: 31 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118354186.ch24

Novel Ecosystems: Intervening in the New Ecological World Order

Novel Ecosystems: Intervening in the New Ecological World Order

How to Cite

Harris, J. A., Murphy, S. D., Nelson, C. R., Perring, M. P. and Tognetti, P. M. (2013) Characterizing Novel Ecosystems: Challenges for Measurement, in Novel Ecosystems: Intervening in the New Ecological World Order (eds R. J. Hobbs, E. S. Higgs and C. M. Hall), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118354186.ch24

Editor Information

  1. 5

    Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology (ERIE) Research Group, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Australia

  2. 6

    School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Canada

Author Information

  1. 1

    Environmental Science and Technology Department, Cranfield University, UK

  2. 2

    Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada

  3. 3

    Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, USA

  4. 4

    Departamento de Métodos Cuantitativos y Sistemas de Información, Facultad de Agronomia, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

  5. 5

    Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology (ERIE) Research Group, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 31 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 19 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118354223

Online ISBN: 9781118354186

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Keywords:

  • ecosystem composition;
  • macroecological measure;
  • mesoecological measures;
  • novel ecosystems

Summary

This chapter starts with stating three essential features of novel ecosystems that distinguish them from unaltered or hybrid systems: (1) difference in ecosystem composition, structure or function; (2) thresholds in these attributes that are currently irreversible; and (3) persistence or self-organization. It explores how the challenges of measuring differences and novelty are non-trivial and measurement approaches are a work in progress. The chapter also describes selected variables for measuring and understanding relative novelty of ecosystem states. Mesoecological and macroecological measures presented in this chapter represent jumping-off point for understanding drivers of novelty and metrics. It finally presents a discussion on identifying thresholds in ecosystem composition, structure and function.