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Ecology in an era of globalization

In a special issue, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment explores ecology in an era of globalization, looking at the impacts of human migration, production systems, and invasive species on ecosystems and people throughout North, Central, and South America. Scientists from throughout the Americas gathered last year in Merida Mexico and held a conference on this very topic. The following are highlights from the meeting, including more extensive work done since the event.

In an introduction by Jeffrey Herrick (US Department of Agriculture) and José Sarukhan (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico), the authors discuss the impacts of globalization on environmental degradation. They suggest ecological science must be more rapidly integrated to keep up with the changes, including an ecological knowledge system to facilitate access to new and existing sources of ecological information throughout the world.

Frederick Meyerson (University of Rhode Island, US), Leticia Merino (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico), and Jorge Durand (Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico) describe the impacts of human migration and population growth in their piece, "Migration and environment in the context of globalization." The researchers describe the economic, environmental and social factors that will play a major role in the future of ecosystems, biodiversity, land use, and conservation policy. They suggest that migration and other demographics - when combined with ecological data - present opportunities for modeling projections, long-range conservation strategies, and policy interventions.

In "The future of production systems in a globalized world," Elena Bennett (McGill University, Montreal, Canada) and Patricia Balvanera (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Morelia, Mexico) analyze ecosystem services, especially those providing food, fiber, and timber. They discuss the challenges ahead in susta ining these services.

Exploring the role of invasive organisms, Laura Meyerson (University of Rhode Island, US) and Harold Mooney (Stanford University, California, US) discuss "Invasive alien species in an era of globalization." Noting invasions occur across global, regional and local scales, they describe the possible use of information networks to manage invasions on the ground. The scientists also discuss the importance of determining the economic impacts of alien invasives to better manage and assess existing infestations.

The special issue also contains workshop reports, including "Ecological impacts of wildlife conservation units policy in Mexico," "Timber production in selectively logged tropical forests in South America," "Assessing invasive alien species across multiple spatial scales: working globally and locally," and "Cascading events in linked ecological and socioeconomic systems.

Source:Ecological Society of America

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