A biogeographic–macroecological perspective on the rising novelty of the biosphere in the Anthropocene

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Abstract

The concept of novel ecosystems has been discussed for over more than a decade to describe ecosystems that have an altered species composition and function, such that the community has crossed a threshold forbidding a return to its historical state. While spatial and temporal community compositional change has been well studied in biogeography, studies on novel ecosystems in a modern context are few and tend towards classifying novelty based on a static baseline. Given that the abiotic and biotic drivers of novelty are in a state of rapid change, and reaching levels unprecedented within the last hundred thousand to million years, defining such a threshold requires additional thought. Here, we discuss a biogeographical–macroecological perspective on novel ecosystems, exploring how such a threshold for novelty can be defined in an environment undergoing progressive global change and suggesting pathways through which the emergence and spread of novelty can be further explored, understood and managed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume51
Issue4
Pages (from-to)575-587
Number of pages13
ISSN0305-0270
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • abiotic novelty
  • community change
  • ecological novelty
  • environmental change
  • novel ecosystems

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