Introduction - Unprecedented Challenges in Ecological Research: Past and Present

  • ShiLi Miao
  • Susan Carstenn
  • Martha Nungesser

Unprecedented Challenges in Ecological Research

The focus of ecological research has been changing in fundamental ways as the need for humanity to address large-scale environmental perturbations and global crises increasingly places ecologists in the limelight. Ecologists are asked to explain and help mitigate effects from local to global scale issues, such as climate change, wetlands loss, hurricane devastation, deforestation, and land degradation. The traditional focus of ecology as “the study of the causes of patterns in nature” (e.g., Tilman 1987) has shifted to a new era in which ecological science must play a greatly expanded role in improving the human condition by addressing the sustainability and resilience of socio-ecological systems (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2003, Palmer et al. 2004). In the twenty-first century, scientists studying ecological science are required not only to understand mechanisms of ecosystem change and develop new ecological theories but also to...


Inverse Analysis Unprecedented Challenge River Restoration Project Woody Plant Encroachment BACI Design 
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We thank the South Florida Water Management District for supporting the Fire project that stimulated our investigation of the issues that eventually inspired us to pursue collaboration on this book, and for support for the book project. We also thank Hawaii Pacific University for providing release time for S. Carstenn. We appreciate C. Stow’s generous contribution of his time for reviewing and raising important questions, J. Grace’s enthusiastic support and discussion of statistical issues, critical comments from S. Carpenter and P. Leavitt on earlier drafts of this chapter, and S. Bousquin, D. Peters, B. Bestelmeyer, and A. Knapp for providing some references.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Florida Water Management District, STA Management DivisionWest Palm BeachUSA
  2. 2.Hawai’i Pacific University, College of Natural SciencesKaneoheUSA
  3. 3.South Florida Water Management District, Everglades DivisionWest Palm BeachUSA

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