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Review of ESA SYMP 7: A dynamic perspective on ecosystem restoration–establishing temporal connectivity at the intersection between paleoecology and restoration ecology

November 27, 2021

Landscape connectivity is vital not only spatially, but also temporally; as ecosystems change, it is important to be aware of past, present, and future variables that may impact ecosystem function and biodiversity. As climate and environments continue to change, choosing appropriate restoration targets is becoming more challenging. By considering the paleoecological and paleoenvironmental record for a given region, restoration practitioners are not only able to bear witness to that region’s dynamic history, but also potentially identify multiple, alternative natural ecosystem states. Indeed, one of the deliverables of conservation paleobiology, a field that applies paleontological data and methods to present-day conservation, is to inform restoration targets. Consideration of future change is equally important, and paleoecological and paleoclimatological data are essential for informing models that can help us understand how climate change is affecting species and ecosystems at different temporal scales. The symposium “A dynamic perspective on ecosystem restoration: Establishing temporal
connectivity at the intersection between paleoecology and restoration ecology” gathered representatives from macroecology, paleoecology, and restoration ecology to share their perspectives on temporal connectivity and how consideration of an ecosystem’s past, present, and future can positively impact restoration and conservation. Some speakers approached the topic theoretically, while others considered it from a more practical and applied standpoint. The goals of the symposium were to build a stronger relationship among the subdisciplines, stimulate new ideas, and identify data and/or products that would be useful to share across subdisciplines.