Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If Societies Become Sustainable, Ecosystems May Recover

Rapid Recovery of Damaged Ecosystems
Holly P. Jones, Oswald J. Schmitz, Yale University

Nearly 75 percent of ecosystems that have been degraded by humans or damaged by natural disasters such as hurricanes fully or partially recover within decades, a new analysis has found.

Reviewing 240 studies of disturbed ecosystems from 1910 to 2008, researchers at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies found that most ecosystems recovered from as little as five years to as much as 56 years (an average of 42 years). The researchers found that ecosystems degraded by humans took longer to recover than ecosystems that suffered natural disturbances.

While 72 percent of ecosystems did fully or partially recover, the remainder showed no recovery or were beyond recovery, according to the study.

Read the summary in Yale Environment 360, and the complete article in the journal, PLoS ONE.

No comments: