Management applications of discontinuity theory

Angeler, David G., Allen, Craig R., Barichievy, Chris, Eason, Tarsha, Garmestani, Ahjond S., Graham, Nicholas A.J., Granholm, Dean, Gunderson, Lance H., Knutson, Melinda, Nash, Kirsty L., Nelson, R. John, Nystrom, Magnus, Spanbauer, Trisha L., Stow, Craig A., and Sundstrom, Shana M. (2016) Management applications of discontinuity theory. Journal of Applied Ecology, 53. pp. 688-698.

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Abstract

1. Human impacts on the environment are multifaceted and can occur across distinct spatiotemporal scales. Ecological responses to environmental change are therefore difficult to predict, and entail large degrees of uncertainty. Such uncertainty requires robust tools for management to sustain ecosystem goods and services and maintain resilient ecosystems.

2. We propose an approach based on discontinuity theory that accounts for patterns and processes at distinct spatial and temporal scales, an inherent property of ecological systems. Discontinuity theory has not been applied in natural resource management and could therefore improve ecosystem management because it explicitly accounts for ecological complexity.

3. Synthesis and applications. We highlight the application of discontinuity approaches for meeting management goals. Specifically, discontinuity approaches have significant potential to measure and thus understand the resilience of ecosystems, to objectively identify critical scales of space and time in ecological systems at which human impact might be most severe, to provide warning indicators of regime change, to help predict and understand biological invasions and extinctions and to focus monitoring efforts. Discontinuity theory can complement current approaches, providing a broader paradigm for ecological management and conservation.

Item ID: 45646
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2664
Keywords: biodiversity, discontinuity theory, ecological complexity, extinction, invasion biology, management, monitoring, regime shifts, resilience, scale
Additional Information:

Special Feature Issue: Quantifying resilience

Funders: August T. Larsson Foundation of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (ATLF), US Geological Survey John Wesley Powell Centre for Analysis and Synthesis (JWPC), Swedish Research Council (SRC)
Projects and Grants: SRC Formas 2014-1193, SRC Vetenskapsradet 2014-5828
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2016 07:39
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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