A ’critique’ to the novel ecosystems concept

Murcia C, Aronson J, Kattan G, Moreno-Mateos D, Dixon K, Simberloff D. 2014. A ’critique’ to the novel ecosystems concept. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 29:548-553 (33). Top 8 most downloaded paper from the journal website in the first 2 years after publication.

Author's Notes

This paper emerged as a result of discussion that the group of authors was having about the concerns of new paradigms proposed in the field of restoration ecology. The proponents of novel ecosystems were aiming to relax the efforts on controlling invasive species and accept many of the ecosystems being heavily transformed by humans as the new normal. We contended that the concept itself was empty given the fact that most of ecosystem on earth have some degree of human influence, so the term ecosystem itself would already capture the idea of novel. Out second and most fearful concerns was that it would be used by managers to cut effort in either controlling invasions or preventing them. We have been found this this has been occasionally the case in management contexts. I am not sure the overall impact of this paper, although it has been heavily cited, on the spread of the novel ecosystem concept, but the reality is that in most of the ecological and restoration for a, the concept is rarely used any more.