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new BRIDGES cluster: thresholds in freshwater ecosystems

Published On: 10/1/2010

Four papers in BRIDGES provide examples and evidence that ecosystem degradation and recovery thresholds exist in streams.

In the the first cluster of the new BRIDGES format (see editorial JNABS 28(2):271-272), new methodological approaches are suggested that may be useful to identify nonlinear changes in ecosystems. Having a mechanistic understanding of system perturbations is essential for detecting thresholds and determining appropriate management strategies. The case studies demonstrate how nonlinear shifts and potential hysteresis exist for both biotic degradation and ecosystem recovery. The authors maintain that managers should use a precautionary approach to prevent crossing degradation thresholds into an altered ecosystem state. These open-access papers are published in the September issue of JNABS (JNABS 29(3):988-1023).

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