Losing Legacies, Ecological Release, and Transient Responses: Key Challenges for the Future of Northern Ecosystem Science

Merritt R. Turetsky, Jennifer L. Baltzer, Jill F. Johnstone, Michelle C. Mack, Kevin McCann, Edward A.G. Schuur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Northern ecosystem processes play out across scales that are rare elsewhere on contemporary earth: large ranging predator–prey systems are still operational, invasive species are rare, and large-scale natural disturbances occur extensively. Disturbances in the far north affect huge areas of land and are difficult to control or manage. Historically, disturbance patterns and processes ranging across a number of spatio-temporal scales have played an important role in the resilience of northern ecosystems. However, due to interactions with a warming climate, these disturbances are now erasing key legacies of the last millennia of ecosystem processes. Building on the concepts of legacies and cross-scale interactions, we highlight several general conceptual issues that represent key challenges for the future of northern ecosystem science, but that also have relevance to other biomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalEcosystems
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • arctic
  • boreal
  • carbon
  • disturbance
  • diversity
  • niche
  • permafrost
  • succession
  • trophic interactions
  • wildfire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology

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