About this Research Topic
When literature exists, perhaps we do not notice how important it is, but when it does not exist, our lives become coarsened and brutal.
Mo Yan’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, 10 December 2012
Human-driven habitat transformation has become a dominant force shaping biodiversity patterns and ecosystem dynamics across the globe in the last couple of centuries and is broadly considered the main contemporary driver of biodiversity loss. The negative effects of this process are well documented: species have become extinct and irreplaceable natural landscapes have been destroyed. But effects of habitat transformation may not be entirely negative: it can leave modified ecosystems that retain some proportion of native biodiversity, and even novel ecosystems can provide novel ecological opportunities for many species. More than ever, humanity needs to investigate the negative and positive impacts of human-driven habitat transformation in order to restore and improve ecosystem health.
However, there are still critical gaps in our knowledge both regionally and globally of the processes that have led to these environmental changes (apart from broad brush strokes) as well as in the magnitude of these changes and the efficacy of our restoration efforts. Asia is perhaps an area where our lack of knowledge of the effect of human-driven habitat transformation is laid bare- while it has large areas of intense human concentration and has experienced rapid modification, the effects of habitat transformation on Asian species and ecosystems remain relatively unexplored. In this Research Topic, we aim to bring together research from our region which examines the impact of habitat transformation on biodiversity and ecosystems from all fields of ecology. Identifying these negative or positive impacts is only the first step to formulate and implement efficient restoration measures aiming to improve ecosystem health. We also might produce reliable metrics quantifying these environmental changes and assessing the efficacy of restoration and conservation efforts currently taking place.
Within the framework of this Research Topic we will consider original research articles and reviews from all the fields of ecology aiming to: (1) Identify key gaps of knowledge on the effect of human-driven habitat transformation on species and ecosystems in Asia, (2) Quantify the impacts of human-driven habitat transformation on species and ecosystems in Asia, (3) Produce reliable metrics that can inform the conservation status of species and ecosystems, (4) Assess the efficacy that restoration and conservation efforts have on the health of species and ecosystems.
Interdisciplinary approaches are welcome and encouraged. We hope that this editorial endeavor provides a suitable platform for our shared efforts to build an ecological civilization.
Keywords: biodiversity loss, conservation, habitat transformation, ecosystem health, urbanization
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.