Quoting the IU Newsroom: Scientists and policymakers should draw on experience from the distant past to develop a new paradigm for protecting ecosystems at a time of accelerating global change, an Indiana University paleontologist and co-authors write in a paper published today.
The article in the journal Science calls for merging conservation biology with evidence from paleobiology -- the study of the fossil record of the history of life -- and the Earth sciences. P. David Polly, professor of geological sciences in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences, is one of the authors.
The authors say factors such as climate change, resource overconsumption and pollution are reaching a point where it is no longer realistic to focus only on protecting ecosystems from change. Instead, they argue, we need an approach that conserves the ability of ecosystems to adapt to changing conditions.
"It’s a way of working with ecosystems that we know we’re going to lose," Polly said. "Instead of trying to maintain them in past optimal states, we would try to maintain productivity in the face of change."