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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

ECOSYSTEMS

MANAGING THE LIVING WORLD
TWO CENTURIES AFTER DARWIN

REPORT OF A SYMPOSIUM

Committee for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: A Symposium

U.S. National Committee for DIVERSITAS

Board on International Scientific Organizations

Policy and Global Affairs

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                                                  OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS   500 Fifth Street, N.W.   Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

Support for this workshop was provided by the National Science Foundation (Award No. 0829957); the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service (Award No. 09DG-11132650-190); the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Award No. DG133F09SE1942) and the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (Award No. G09PX01652). Additional resources that made the symposium possible were provided by Defenders of Wildlife and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-20901-4
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-20901-3

Cover photo credits: Chilean loon: Andrew Hendry, McGill University; Trinidadian frog: Andrew Hendry; Seed bank: A. McRobb Copyright Royal Botanical Garden; Kew Chilean Mountain scene: Andrew Hendry; Diatom: Paul Falkowski, Rutgers University; Galapagos Seal: Andrew Hendry; Alaskan Bears: Andrew Hendry; Darwin: Bigstock Photo.com; and background of geese taking off: Andrew Hendry, McGill University.

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

 

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

COMMITTEE FOR BIODIVERSITY AND
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: A SYMPOSIUM

Peter R. Crane (NAS), Chair, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Ann P. Kinzig, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Thomas E. Lovejoy, The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, Washington, D.C.

Harold A. Mooney (NAS), Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Charles A. Perrings, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

National Research Council Staff

Margaret R. Goud Collins, Senior Program Officer

Avihai Ostchega, Senior Program Assistant (until April 1, 2010)

Lynelle Vidale, Senior Program Assistant (from April 1, 2010)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

U.S. NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR DIVERSITAS

Peter R. Crane (NAS), Chair, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Rodolfo Dirzo (NAS), Stanford University, Stanford, California

Michael Donoghue (NAS), Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Ann P. Kinzig, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Thomas E. Lovejoy, The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment, Washington, D.C.

Harold A. Mooney (NAS), Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

Lynne Parenti, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Stephen Polasky (NAS), University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota

Cristián Samper, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Jorge Soberón, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

James Tiedje (NAS), Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

National Research Council Staff

Margaret R. Goud Collins, Senior Program Officer

Avihai Ostchega, Senior Program Assistant (until April 1, 2010)

Lynelle Vidale, Senior Program Assistant (from April 1, 2010)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

STEPHEN SCHNEIDER (1945–2010)

Stephen Schneider was an extraordinarily talented scientist who dedicated his professional life to understanding the complexities of the earth’s climate system and to urging action to avoid the most dangerous consequences of anthropogenic climate change. Along with his wife, Terry Root, he was also a tireless voice elucidating the consequences of climatic change for the Earth’s biodiversity. He commanded the attention of international leaders in science, policy, and business, and used that attention to transform both climate science and the science-policy dialogue. His was a formidable intellect, a “few in a generation” talent, but his heart was larger—the size of the planet he worked so hard to save.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.

 

Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 1859; emphasis added

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

Preface and Acknowledgments

The two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, February 12, 2009, occurred at a critical time for the United States and the world. A global financial crisis had demonstrated the extent of interconnections among the world’s economies, but also alarming instability in the economic systems on which the entire world depends. The analogy with ecological systems was both clear and troubling. Recognition of human-induced changes in global climate was also stimulating urgent discussion of priorities for mitigation and adaptation. Policies governing crucial systems for human well-being, such as energy, agriculture, and trade, were being rethought. A new presidential administration was also developing new approaches to respond to these complex, interconnected issues, and had indicated its desire to incorporate the best scientific guidance available.

In honor of Darwin’s birthday, the National Research Council appointed a committee under the auspices of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for DIVERSITAS to plan a Symposium on Twenty-first Century Ecosystems. The purpose of the symposium was to capture some of the current excitement and recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects. The meeting was an effort to bring together the academic community, the nongovernmental organization (NGO) community, and policy makers to share their perspectives on how biodiversity and ecosystems should be conserved and managed for the

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

future. In selecting trade, energy, climate, and agriculture as the key issues for exploration at the symposium, the committee sought to highlight the economic, public health, and societal costs and benefits of policies that have ecological and biodiversity dimensions. The aim was to help inform new policy approaches that could satisfy human needs while also maintaining the integrity of the goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems over both the short and the long terms.

The symposium, held on February 11–12, 2009, included presentations from 37 speakers from around the world (Appendix A). The auditorium at the American Association for the Advancement of Science was filled to capacity for most of both days of the symposium; there was a total of 400 registrants. The presentations were also available to a worldwide audience via simultaneous webcasting, and an estimated 2,000 or more people watched at least some portion of the webcast. The video was subsequently posted on the World Wide Web, with a link from the USNC DIVERSITAS Web site (http://www.nationalacademies.org/usnc-diversitas).

This report does not provide a session-by-session summary of the presentations at the symposium. Instead, the symposium steering committee identified eight key themes that emerged from the lectures, which were addressed in different contexts by different speakers. The focus here is on general principles rather than specifics. These eight themes provide a sharp focus on a few concepts that enable scientists, environmental NGOs, and policy makers to engage more effectively around issues of central importance for biodiversity and ecosystem management.

This report summarizes the views expressed by symposium participants. The symposium committee is responsible for the overall quality and accuracy of the report as a record of what transpired at the symposium, but the views contained in the report are not necessarily those of the symposium committee, the USNC for DIVERSITAS, nor the National Academies.

The U.S. National Committee for DIVERSITAS and the symposium committee gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the many people and organizations that made this symposium a success. We especially thank the speakers, who contributed their time and expertise for both their presentations and the accompanying discussions. We also thank the hundreds of scientists, policy makers, and interested individuals who attended, and whose questions and comments enlivened the discussion.

The organization of the symposium was accomplished with the cooperation of three lead partners: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which hosted the meeting in its auditorium and provided

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
×

invaluable logistical support; the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, which hosted the speakers’ dinner in the Sant Ocean Hall; and DIVERSITAS, which offered advice and expertise throughout the organizing process. DIVERSITAS also contributed the global expertise of its Scientific Committee (SC) by coordinating its annual SC meeting with the Twenty-first Century Ecosystems Symposium.

We are grateful for the financial support provided by the National Science Foundation through its grant supporting the U.S. National Committee for DIVERSITAS, and by three federal agencies that awarded generous grants to support the symposium: the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Forest Service. We are also grateful for the support of Defenders of Wildlife and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.

We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: David Blockstein, Senior Scientist, National Council for Science and the Environment; Frank Casey, Director, Conservation Economics Program, Defenders of Wildlife; Christopher Field, Director, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science; John M. Fitzgerald, J.D., Policy Director, Society for Conservation Biology; Falk Huettmann, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Peter R. Crane
Chair, Committee for Biodiversity and
Ecosystem Services: A Symposium

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin: Report of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13109.
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The two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, February 12, 2009, occurred at a critical time for the United States and the world. In honor of Darwin's birthday, the National Research Council appointed a committee under the auspices of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for DIVERSITAS to plan a Symposium on Twenty-first Century Ecosystems. The purpose of the symposium was to capture some of the current excitement and recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects. The aim was to help inform new policy approaches that could satisfy human needs while also maintaining the integrity of the goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems over both the short and the long terms.

This report summarizes the views expressed by symposium participants; however, it does not provide a session-by-session summary of the presentations at the symposium. Instead, the symposium steering committee identified eight key themes that emerged from the lectures, which were addressed in different contexts by different speakers. The focus here is on general principles rather than specifics. These eight themes provide a sharp focus on a few concepts that enable scientists, environmental NGOs, and policy makers to engage more effectively around issues of central importance for biodiversity and ecosystem management.

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