About this Research Topic
Policy makers and resource managers must make decisions that affect the resilience and sustainability of natural resources, including biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, these decisions are often based on evidence or theory derived from highly altered systems and over short time periods of low-magnitude environmental and climatic change. Because natural systems change and evolve across multiple timescales from instantaneous to millennial, long-term understanding of how past life has responded to perturbations can inform resource managers. By using these natural laboratories of the past, conservation paleobiology and paleoecology provide the framework necessary to anticipate and plan for future changes.
The goal of this Research Topic is to heighten awareness among conservation and restoration practitioners to the value and applications of long-term perspectives provided by conservation paleobiology and paleoecology. Most conservation studies focus on systems already impacted by anthropogenic change; these studies would benefit from paleontological data through expanded temporal scales, identification of baselines, and an understanding of how organisms have responded to past changes. However, resource management decisions rarely include input from paleontologists, and paleoecological research is rarely incorporated into conservation decision-making. We seek to bridge this research-implementation gap by highlighting the application of paleoecological data to issues such as biodiversity dynamics, extinction risks, and resilience to perturbations, among other topics. We hope to foster new cross-disciplinary synergies by encouraging conservation scientists and managers to collaborate with paleontologists to improve conservation decision-making and by increasing awareness among paleontologists to the needs of the resource management community.
This Research Topic will provide a forum for both the paleontological and resource management communities to exchange ideas that will enhance restoration and conservation decision-making. We invite papers on conceptual advances, reviews of specific topics to guide efforts in research or practice, case studies of successful applications, articles describing datasets with applied value, and perspective papers summarizing a body of paleontological research with relevance to the resource management community. Topics can include but are not limited to:
• Responses of species, communities, and ecosystems to perturbations
• Strategies to achieve the direct integration of paleobiology and paleoecology into on-ground resource
• Identifying baselines and reference conditions
• Increasing the robustness of forecasting models through the incorporation of paleontological data
• Identifying key species, interactions, and other phenomena as indicators of impending change
• New methodologies, analytical tools, and/or proxies in the application of paleontological data to conservation
and restoration practice
Lynn Wingard, Damien Fordham, and Greg Dietl have no conflicts of interest. Chris Schneider has a potential conflict of interest where manuscripts pertain to stakeholders in the petroleum industry, as she is an independent contractor in the Alberta Oil Sands mining area.
Keywords: climate change, biodiversity dynamics, extinction risk, resilience, sustainability, adaptation, range shifts, genetic diversity, refugia, ecosystem management and restoration, ecosystem services, shifting baselines, survivorship
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.