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Keywords:

  • agriculture;
  • conservation;
  • contemporary evolution;
  • Darwinian;
  • eradication;
  • invasion;
  • management;
  • medicine

Abstract

Biotic invaders and similar anthropogenic novelties such as domesticates, transgenics, and cancers can alter ecology and evolution in environmental, agricultural, natural resource, public health, and medical systems. The resulting biological changes may either hinder or serve management objectives. For example, biological control and eradication programs are often defeated by unanticipated resistance evolution and by irreversibility of invader impacts. Moreover, eradication may be ill-advised when nonnatives introduce beneficial functions. Thus, contexts that appear to call for eradication may instead demand managed coexistence of natives with nonnatives, and yet applied biologists have not generally considered the need to manage the eco-evolutionary dynamics that commonly result from interactions of natives with nonnatives. Here, I advocate a conciliatory approach to managing systems where novel organisms cannot or should not be eradicated. Conciliatory strategies incorporate benefits of nonnatives to address many practical needs including slowing rates of resistance evolution, promoting evolution of indigenous biological control, cultivating replacement services and novel functions, and managing native–nonnative coevolution. Evolutionary links across disciplines foster cohesion essential for managing the broad impacts of novel biotic systems. Rather than signaling defeat, conciliation biology thus utilizes the predictive power of evolutionary theory to offer diverse and flexible pathways to more sustainable outcomes.