Equipping the 22nd-Century Historical Ecologist

Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Morrison, Scott A.; Sillett, T. Scott; Funk, W. Chris; Ghalambor, Cameron K.; Rick, Torben C.
SourceWeb of Science
Volume / Issue32 / 8
Pages578 - 588
Total Pages10 pages
Article Link
Editor(s) N/A
Conference / Book Title N/A
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Tagscollection; conservation; crowdsourcing; historical ecology; horizon scan; museum
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Conference Date N/A
Publication DateJune 20, 2017
Article Date N/A
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AbstractAlthough historical records have proved invaluable in addressing myriad societal challenges, societal investment in systematic collection and curation is widely recognized to be insufficient. Such underinvestment creates gaps in data that will limit the ability of future historical ecologists to understand present-day conditions and trends, which is especially unfortunate given the degree of global change currently under way. Individual scientists, resource managers, and citizen scientists can play a critical role in filling the gap, by taking the initiative to sample and archive the contemporary conditions of the places and resources to which they have access. A crowdsourced initiative can be instrumental in generating the records needed to inform a wide array of current and future societal interests, including biodiversity conservation. Historical ecology provides information needed to understand contemporary conditions and make science-based resource management decisions. Gaps in historical records, however, can limit inquiries and inference. Unfortunately, the patchiness of data that poses challenges for today’s historical ecologist may be similarly problematic for those in the future seeking to understand what are currently present-day conditions and trends, in part because of societal underinvestment in systematic collection and curation. We therefore highlight the generational imperative that contemporary scientists and managers individually have – especially in this era of tremendous global change – to ensure sufficient documentation of the past and current conditions of the places and resources to which they have access.
Created: 12/14/2017 10:29 AM (ET)
Modified: 1/7/2019 3:26 PM (ET)
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