Document Type

Article

Abstract

Background: Recent reports on the state of the global environment provide evidence that humankind is inflicting great damage to the very ecosystems that support human livelihoods. The reports further predict that ecosystems will take centuries to recover from damages if they recover at all. Accordingly, there is despair that we are passing on a legacy of irreparable damage to future generations which is entirely inconsistent with principles of sustainability. Methodology/Principal Findings: We tested the prediction of irreparable harm using a synthesis of recovery times compiled from240 independent studies reported in the scientific literature. We provide startling evidence that most ecosystems globally can, given human will, recover from very major perturbations on timescales of decades to half-centuries. Significance/Conclusions: Accordingly, we find much hope that humankind can transition to more sustainable use of ecosystems.

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0005653

Publication Date

1-1-2009

Original Citation

Jones, H.P. and O.J. Schmitz. 2009. Rapid recovery of damaged ecosystems. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5653. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005653.

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences

ISSN

1932-6203

Language

eng

Publisher

PLoS One

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