Research Topic

Synergistic Effects of Pervasive Stressors on Ecosystems and Biodiversity

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We are facing global threats to ecosystem function and conservation of biodiversity as a result of synergistic effects of pervasive stressors such as climate change, invasive species proliferation, land use/land management and others. These stressors have been known for decades and their effects on ecosystems ...

We are facing global threats to ecosystem function and conservation of biodiversity as a result of synergistic effects of pervasive stressors such as climate change, invasive species proliferation, land use/land management and others. These stressors have been known for decades and their effects on ecosystems have been studied, but only recently have the synergistic effects of multiple stressors been considered. The effects of these stressors, both individually and synergistically, may be mitigated or exacerbated depending on local, regional, national or global policies and agreements. In recent years, abrupt changes in policies by states and countries have increased the likelihood that effects of synergistic stressors on ecosystems are increasing in scope, and our ability to conserve biodiversity in the face of these interacting stressors is in greater doubt. The rapid rates of change in policies and resulting changes in land use, climate, spread of invasive species, and spread of pollutants (especially plastics) may give rise to novel ecosystem structures and functions. It is clear that we can no longer assess effects of these and other stressors one at a time, but rather we must be able to consider synergies among them.

We would like to consider contributions that address any of the following areas, but also welcome contributions that are not encompassed by the following questions, but address synergistic effects of stressors on ecosystems more broadly:

1. How have multiple stressors synergistically influenced ecosystem structure and function?

2. How has policy change at a variety of scales of space and time influenced synergistic effects on ecosystem functions and processes?

3. Can we understand how synergistic stressors might influence future ecosystem structure and function, and our ability to conserve biodiversity?

4. How do we conceptualize and understand effects of multiple stressors within and among ecosystems that will allow managers and policy makers to prioritize actions, given the uncertainty associated with fluxes in each of the stressors?


Keywords: Climate change, invasive species, land use, politics, ecological thresholds


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.

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