• Open Access

Novel ecosystems resulting from landscape transformation create dilemmas for modern conservation practice

Authors

  • David B. Lindenmayer,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Joern Fischer,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Adam Felton,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Mason Crane,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Damian Michael,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Christopher Macgregor,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Rebecca Montague-Drake,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Adrian Manning,

    1. Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
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  • Richard J. Hobbs

    1. School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia, 6150, Australia.
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Correspondence
David Lindenmayer, Fenner School for the Environment and Society, W.K. Hancock Building West [43], The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 0200. Tel: +61 2 6125 0654; fax: +61 2 6125 0757. E-mail: david.lindenmayer@anu.edu.au

Abstract

Introduction: Novel ecosystems occur when new combinations of species appear within a particular biome due to human activity, environmental change, or impacts of introduced species. Background: Managing the trajectory of ecosystems toward desired outcomes requires an understanding of the means by which they developed. To facilitate this understanding, we present evidence for the development of a novel ecosystem from a natural experiment focusing on 52 woodland remnants surrounded by maturing stands of exotic radiata pine. Results: Bird community composition changed through time resulting in a unique blend of tall closed forest and open-woodland birds that previously did not occur in the study area, nor in the region's tall closed forest or open-woodland biomes. Conclusion: Novel ecosystems will become increasingly common due to climate change, raising complex management and ethical dilemmas for policy makers and resource managers.

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