Ecological restoration -- a global strategy for mitigating climate change

August 17, 2007

The Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) issued a position statement on global climate change during its joint conference with the Ecological Society of America (ESA) "Ecological Restoration in a Changing World" held this week in San Jose, CA. The SER position statement has been endorsed by the ESA governing board. An estimated 4,500 people are participating in the meeting.

The position statement calls attention to the vital role played by terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in supporting humanity, and the need to protect and restore these habitats in order to mitigate global climate change and its effects. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is a real threat that requires immediate action. Changes in land use and the subsequent loss of biodiversity are a significant contributing factor to global climate change.

"The loss of vital ecosystem functions and services reduces biological resilience and adaptability, further increasing our vulnerability to the adverse impacts of global climate change," said Keith Bowers, outgoing Chair of SER. "Ecological restoration is a critical tool in addressing global climate change, enhancing the extent and functioning of carbon sinks as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

"SER strongly urges local, regional, and national governments, international development banks and non-governmental organizations as well as private institutions to plan, finance, and coordinate ecological restoration projects and programs as part of a comprehensive global strategy for mitigating climate change and its effects," said the SER statement. Accordingly, "...developed nations should actively support restoration programs throughout the world by providing financial support, sharing technology and committing expertise."

"Unless checked, global climate change will destroy people, places, and life as we know it. Ecological restoration offers hope in two key areas: by reconnecting fragmented ecosystems allowing animals and plants to migrate in response to such change; and, by capturing carbon through the restoration of forests, peat-forming wetlands, and other ecosystems that act as carbon sinks," said George Gann, incoming Chair of SER. "Protecting what we have is still important, but no longer sufficient," added Jim Harris, SER's Science and Policy Working Group Chair.
-end-
SER Position Statement

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that global climate change is a real and immediate threat that requires action. Defined as an intentional activity that initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its functions, integrity, and sustainability, ecological restoration is one of many tools that can help mitigate climate change.

Humanity depends upon the services provided by ecosystems. These services include products such as food and timber, regulating services such as carbon sequestration, disease control, and flood protection, and cultural benefits, such as places to recreate. As an example of a regulating service, forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester it in their biomass, thereby capturing a gas that contributes to global climate change. In order to continue to obtain ecosystem services, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems need to be protected and, where possible, restored.

SER strongly urges local, regional, and national governments, international development banks and non-governmental organizations, as well as private institutions to work to maintain ecosystems and to plan, finance and coordinate ecological restoration projects and programs as part of a comprehensive global strategy for mitigating climate change and its effects.

Developed nations should actively support restoration programs throughout the world by providing financial support, sharing technology and committing expertise.

The Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) is a non-profit organization of about 2,000 members - individuals and organizations who are actively engaged in ecologically-sensitive repair and management of ecosystems through an unusually broad array of experience, knowledge sets and cultural perspectives. The mission of SER is to promote ecological restoration as a means of sustaining the diversity of life on Earth and reestablishing an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture. www.ser.org. The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a scientific, non-profit, 9,700-member organization founded in 1915.

Society for Ecological Restoration International

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.