Novel Ecosystems and Climate Change

Resource Location: 
Remotely hosted behind paywall
Starzomski, Brian M.

Climate change science has long recognized the possibility for dramatic changes in ecosystems due to shifting climate. In addition to all the other threats to biodiversity, climate change has important consequences for biodiversity. This chapter focuses on the specifics arising from climate change. The concept of novel ecosystems provides a useful tool for understanding and managing the impacts of climate change on species, communities and ecosystems. Novel ecosystems are characterized by non-historical species configurations that arise due to anthropogenic environmental change, land-use alteration, species invasions or a combination of all three. They are a consequence of human activity but do not depend on human intervention for their maintenance. One proposed solution for avoiding ecological surprises is to design the ecosystem we think may be present in the future. Managed relocation (often called ‘assisted migration’) seeks to do this by moving at-risk species into what is proposed to be future habitat.


Starzomski, B. M. 2013. Novel Ecosystems and Climate Change. Pages 88–101 in R. J. Hobbs, E. S. Higgs, and C. M. Hall, editors. Novel Ecosystems. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.