Marine Historical Ecology in Conservation

Marine Historical Ecology in Conservation: Applying the Past to Manage for the Future

JOHN N. KITTINGER
LOREN MCCLENACHAN
KERYN B. GEDAN
LOUISE K. BLIGHT
Foreword by Daniel Pauly
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt13x1hgh
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  • Book Info
    Marine Historical Ecology in Conservation
    Book Description:

    This pioneering volume provides a blueprint for managing the challenges of ocean conservation using marine historical ecology-an interdisciplinary area of study that is helping society to gain a more in-depth understanding of past human-environmental interactions in coastal and marine ecosystems and of the ecological and social outcomes associated with these interactions.Developed by groundbreaking practitioners in the field,Marine Historical Ecologyin Conservationhighlights the innovative ways that historical ecology can be applied to improve conservation and management efforts in the oceans.The book focuses on four key challenges that confront marine conservation: (1) recovering endangered species, (2) conserving fisheries, (3) restoring ecosystems, and (4) engaging the public. Chapters emphasize real-world conservation scenarios appropriate for students, faculty, researchers, and practitioners in marine science, conservation biology, natural resource management, paleoecology, and marine and coastal archaeology.By focusing on success stories and applied solutions, this volume delivers the required up-to-date science and tools needed for restoration and protection of ocean and coastal ecosystems.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95960-6
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Aquatic Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. CHAPTER CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. VIEWPOINT CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. FOREWORD
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Daniel Pauly

    Marine Historical Ecology in Conservation,the title of this book, may be hard on potential readers, in that each of its two nouns and two adjectives can be seen as potential challenges:

    “Ecology,” because some find it difficult to distinguish the scientific discipline of ecology from the passion of environmentalism;

    “Historical,” because until recently, many academic ecologists suffering from physics envy were attempting to ban history and contingency from ecology;

    “Marine,” because we are air-breathing, terrestrial animals with a strong bias against the watery world that covers most of the surface of our ill-named planet; and finally,

    “Conservation,” because the...

  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. ONE Managing Human Legacies in a Changing Sea: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    JOHN N. KITTINGER, LOUISE K. BLIGHT, KERYN B. GEDAN and LOREN MCCLENACHAN

    In 1938, Howard Granville Sharpe was working on his small ranch, 13 miles south of Carmel on the Big Sur coast in California, when he spied something strange in the kelp beds off shore. A longtime native of the area, Mr. Sharpe was no stranger to the Big Sur coast, yet he and his ranch hands were perplexed to find a group of sleek animals lazing around the kelp beds off shore of Bixby Creek. Two days later, he drove north to Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, where he was politely rebuffed after reporting to the marine scientists there that...

  8. PART I. Recovering Endangered Species
    • [PART ONE Introduction]
      (pp. 13-14)

      Conservation practice is most often carried out at the level of individual species and their recovery. While this species-centric approach is often deemed wrongheaded—because species require ecosystems to survive and because focusing on single species or populations can be an inefficient and expensive way to conduct conservation activities—there are often practical reasons for a single-species focus. For example, trend data are more easily obtained for a species or population than are data on past ecosystem states; the use of single-species models requires relatively few assumptions; and public support is more easily garnered for species-focused conservation efforts, particularly if...

    • TWO What Recovery of Exploited Marine Animals Tells Us about Management and Conservation
      (pp. 15-38)
      HEIKE K. LOTZE and LOUISE K. BLIGHT

      Over the past centuries and decades, high exploitation pressure has led to strong declines in a wide range of marine mammal, bird, reptile, and fish populations. Today, many species are at low abundance levels, endangered, or extinct on a regional or global scale. Yet throughout history, people have responded to declining resource abundance by implementing management and conservation measures. Sometimes these measures were successful and resulted in recovery, and other times they failed. Such successes and failures can serve as guides for conservation and management efforts aimed at preventing further biodiversity loss and restoring functioning ecosystems. This chapter highlights the...

    • THREE Natural or Anthropogenic? Novel Community Reassembly after Historical Overharvest of Pacific Coast Pinnipeds
      (pp. 39-62)
      JON M. ERLANDSON, TODD J. BRAJE, ROBERT L. DELONG, TORBEN C. RICK and LOUISE K. BLIGHT

      In this chapter, we examine the process of novel community reassembly following historical overharvest, through an examination of the historical ecology of pinnipeds along North America’s Pacific coast. We compare changes in the biogeography of ancient versus modern pinniped populations, and the implications for the use of archaeological records in conservation biology and environmental management. Driven to the brink of extinction by commercial hunting in historical times, several Pacific coast pinniped species have recovered dramatically under federal and state protection. Pacific coast archaeological records show that humans hunted pinnipeds for at least the past 12,000 years and that the ancient...

    • FOUR Using Disparate Datasets to Reconstruct Historical Baselines of Animal Populations
      (pp. 63-86)
      FRANCESCO FERRETTI, LARRY B. CROWDER, FIORENZA MICHELI and LOUISE K. BLIGHT

      When reconstructing long-term changes in marine ecosystems and populations of marine animals, historical data are needed to encompass the natural scale of population dynamics, disentangle short-term variability from longer fluctuations, and describe events that occurred decades or centuries ago. Historical data, however, are often difficult to obtain, vary greatly in format and quality, and were less consistently collected than most modern quantitative data. Concern for incorrectly integrating such different sources of information across long periods means that many historical datasets are used only in part or not at all. However, for many locations, such datasets provide the only sources of...

  9. PART II. Conserving Fisheries
    • [PART TWO Introduction]
      (pp. 87-90)

      Fisheries have been one of the primary focal areas for marine historical ecology research. Daniel Pauly’s now famous “shifting baselines syndrome” was first described in the context of fisheries (Pauly 1995), and some of the first work in this field was directed toward understanding how fisheries ecosystems have changed over time. Jeremy B. C. Jackson, inspired by Pauly’s work, convened a working group from 1999 to 2002 at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California. Their first paper was published in 2001, documenting the long-term effects of fishing in coastal ecosystems, and showing that exploitation...

    • FIVE Improving Fisheries Assessments Using Historical Data: Stock Status and Catch Limits
      (pp. 91-118)
      ALAN M. FRIEDLANDER, JOSHUA NOWLIS, HARUKO KOIKE and JOHN N. KITTINGER

      The health of marine fish stocks is inherently difficult to assess because catches are only partially recorded and abundance cannot be directly observed. Understanding the current status of stocks requires an estimate of what the stock is capable of producing in the absence of fishing, yet fisheries data almost never extend back to pre-exploitation states. Without catch and abundance estimates across a range of fish densities, it can be exceedingly difficult to estimate the productive capacity of a fishery, or to develop reference points to approximate this capacity. Historical data (e.g., historical records, archaeological information, geological records, ecological reconstructions, local...

    • SIX Understanding Fisheries through Historical Reconstructions: Implications for Fishery Management and Policy
      (pp. 119-134)
      DALAL AL-ABDULRAZZAK, DIRK ZELLER, DANIEL PAULY and JOHN N. KITTINGER

      Global fisheries catch statistics are often incomplete. The contribution of many sectors, including small-scale fisheries, illegal catches, and discards are frequently absent from or underreported in statistics submitted annually by member countries of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This incomplete accounting in official statistics, and the resulting distorted historical trends, impairs our understanding of the management and policy prescriptions necessary for fisheries sustainability. This chapter describes an approach to retroactively estimate catches where comprehensive time series data are lacking. Data are gathered from nontraditional sources, such as unpublished studies, gray literature, published studies, and surveys; or from...

    • SEVEN Back to the Future: Integrating Customary Practices and Institutions into Comanagement of Small-scale Fisheries
      (pp. 135-160)
      JOHN N. KITTINGER, JOSHUA E. CINNER, SHANKAR ASWANI and ALAN T. WHITE

      In many parts of the world, marine-resource governance systems include aspects of customary marine tenure and traditional sociocultural institutions for resource management. These practices are rooted in historical context and vary by culture and location, with place-specific practices and customs that are based on local knowledge systems. In this chapter, we review the incorporation of customary practices into contemporary management, highlighting the roles of social history, changes in customary practices, and their application in, and influence on, modern legal and policy contexts. Next, we discuss the challenges and opportunities of integrating historical management practices into modern governance systems, exploring the...

  10. PART III. Restoring Ecosystems
    • [PART THREE Introduction]
      (pp. 161-162)

      An interacting community of species—an ecosystem—is more than the sum of its parts. Complex patterns and processes emerge in ecosystems—including intricate food webs, niche differentiation (the specific roles that plants and animals adaptively create), and coupled nutrient cycles. When human activities disrupt these processes, through actions such as overfishing, habitat degradation, or eutrophication, the whole ecosystem can be knocked out of balance. Ecosystem-level changes that result from human activities—such as trophic cascades or shifts in ecological states—create complex conservation challenges.

      Alongside fisheries, ecosystem changes were the impetus for many initial studies in marine historical ecology....

    • EIGHT Historical Information for Ecological Restoration in Estuaries and Coastal Ecosystems
      (pp. 163-186)
      KERYN B. GEDAN, DENISE L. BREITBURG, ROBIN M. GROSSINGER and TORBEN C. RICK

      The appropriate role of historical information in ecosystem restoration is a topic of debate within restoration ecology, as the discipline and the practice of restoration adapt to keep up with the increasing demands and challenges of multiple human impacts and global climate change. Whereas historical data have traditionally been used to define restoration baselines and criteria for success, current practice emphasizes a less prescriptive and more process-based interpretation of historical data. In addition to these traditional applications, we discuss the broader use of historical information to describe landscape processes and linkages and to understand ecosystem trajectories and controls by examining...

    • NINE Estimates of Historical Ecosystem Service Provision Can Guide Restoration Efforts
      (pp. 187-206)
      PHILINE S. E. ZU ERMGASSEN, MARK D. SPALDING, ROBERT D. BRUMBAUGH and KERYN B. GEDAN

      Restoration is undertaken not only to reverse habitat losses but also to recover the many valuable ecosystem services associated with coastal habitats. While ecosystem services are increasingly being used to define restoration objectives for a number of marine and terrestrial habitats, estimates of historical ecosystem service delivery are rare, in part because of the difficulty of making such estimates. However, by combining historical data with an understanding of the habitat characteristics (e.g., density and habitat complexity) and environmental conditions that influence service provision, (e.g., salinity and location relative to other habitats) estimates of historical ecosystem services can be used to...

    • TEN Incorporating Historical Perspectives into Systematic Marine Conservation Planning
      (pp. 207-234)
      NATALIE C. BAN, JOHN N. KITTINGER, JOHN M. PANDOLFI, ROBERT L. PRESSEY, RUTH H. THURSTAN, MATT J. LYBOLT, SIMON HART and KERYN B. GEDAN

      Historical perspectives are highly relevant to marine conservation, yet rarely integrated into ocean planning efforts. By its nature, marine conservation planning is forward looking—concerned with measures that should be taken in the future. It usually focuses on mitigating anticipated adverse changes caused by current and future human activities, with the implicit assumption that present or recent conditions should be maintained. In this chapter, we show that without incorporating historical data and analysis, such approaches will, in the best case, cause us to aim too low; and in the worst case, they can result in inappropriate targets for planning and...

  11. PART IV. Engaging the Public
    • [PART FOUR Introduction]
      (pp. 235-238)

      All of the issues addressed in this volume—restoring ecosystems, managing fisheries, and recovering endangered species—are informed by science but ultimately play out in the public sphere. Historical ecology can provide information on long-term environmental change and baselines, but how that information is received and implemented is a question of policy choice and public engagement.

      In many ways, historical ecology has grown up in the public eye, with extensive media coverage of the often shocking results of historical ecological research. For example, a Science paper by Jeremy Jackson and colleagues, “Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems,”...

    • ELEVEN Engaging Public Interest in the Ocean of the Past: The Promise of New Media
      (pp. 239-264)
      CATHERINE MARZIN, SIAN EVANS, KAREN ALEXANDER and LOREN MCCLENACHAN

      Marine historical ecology powerfully frames ocean issues. It reveals rich new storylines and opportunities for new constituencies in the public to identify with a specific place or time in history. Historical anecdote, personal experience, and imagery, which are less polarizing than some conservation messages, can create interest among people who may not naturally care about fish, the sea, or the health of the marine environment. Using the concept of framing, this chapter describes mechanisms to engage the public via old and new media. Exciting the imagination on an individual level, marine historical ecology can create a sense of ownership and...

    • TWELVE Choice without Memory: Uncovering the Narrative Potential of Historical Ecology
      (pp. 265-276)
      J. B. MACKINNON and LOREN MCCLENACHAN

      Marine historical ecologists frequently cite the need for better storytelling to make their research meaningful to society at large. A review of literature from this discipline points to a promising area of narrative focus. The view of nature as a relatively fixed commodity predominates in public discourse. A historical perspective, however, suggests that the natural world that surrounds us can be seen, in large part, as a product of choice, with the tragic decline of the marine environment the result of choices made without the benefit of social memory. This understanding places a high value on historical context and offers...

  12. INDEX
    (pp. 277-287)