Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Researchers: Damaged Ecosystems Can Recover

Restoration is an important tool to protect habitats.
All hope is not lost. Try as mankind has to destroy our planet researchers at Yale University posit that, "most ecosystems globally can, given human will, recover from very major perturbations on timescales of decades to half-centuries."

Holly Jones a graduate student, and ecology professor Oswald Schmitz of Yales's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies are the authors of the Rapid Recovery of Damaged Ecosystems. Their findings indicate that only 15 percent of all damaged ecosystems are beyond recovery and that it is not too late to enact changes that can aid in the recovery of the majority of damaged ecosystems.

“The damages to these ecosystems are pretty serious,” said Schmitz. “But the message is that if societies choose to become sustainable, ecosystems will recover. It isn’t hopeless.”

On average forest ecosystems were found to recover in 42 years, ocean bottoms recovered in less than 10 years. Ecosystems affected by: invasive species; mining; oil spills or trawling recovered in as little as five years.

The study also concludes that most ecosystems take longer to recover from man-made occurrences than from natural phenomena such as hurricanes.

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