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The trouble with connectedness: disturbance and ecosystem crashes.Author(s): Sally Duncan
Source: Science Findings 54. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
Publication Series: Science Findings
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionHow do we promote resistance to disturbance, resilience when disturbance does occur, and forest health in general when forests and landscapes are actively managed for a variety values? How do we manage for sustainability when humans and their consumption patterns are munching up the earth at alarming rates? How do we move beyond the now-controversial ideas of reserves and connecting corridors, the centerpiece of the Northwest Forest Plan? New theories about how ecosystems renew themselves suggest some possible pathways from here to there. The development of panarchy theory, for example, and research into the ecological foundations of biodiversity are being synthesized into practical guidance for promoting forest health and sustainability. Old ideas about the importance of corridors are giving way to recognition of the importance connectivity maintained by high permeability, varied dynamic landscapes, and ecologically high-quality patches; the patches are naturally and continually in states of rebirth, growth, and dissolution. Reduced connectedness and enhanced permeability, it seems, can increase resistance to agents of catastrophe and enhance resilience after catastrophes. In order to preserve ecosystem health, therefore, we must consider the whole cycle of an ecosystem’s development, including the value of both crash and recovery.
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CitationDuncan, Sally. 2003. The trouble with connectedness: disturbance and ecosystem crashes. Science Findings 54. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p
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