Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 9275
Title: Conserving connectivity: human influence on subsidy transfer and relevant restoration efforts
Author: Emily Buckner, Daniel Hernandez, J. F. Samhouri
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Ambio
Keywords: conservation, ecotone, ecological subsidies, landscape connectivity,

Conservation efforts tend to focus on the direct impacts humans have on their surrounding environment, however there are also many ways in which people indirectly affect ecosystems. Recent research on ecological subsidies has highlighted the importance of nutrient exchange between ecosystems in maintaining productivity and diversity at a landscape scale, while also pointing towards the fragility of ecotones and vulnerability of subsidies to human activities. We review the recent literature on landscape connectivity and ecosystem subsidies from aquatic systems to terrestrial systems. Based on this review, we propose a conceptual model of how human activities may alter or eliminate the flow of energy and nutrients between ecosystems by influencing the delivery of subsidies along the pathway of transfer. To demonstrate the utility of this conceptual model, we discuss it in the context of case studies of subsidies derived from salmon, marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds, shoreline debris, and aquatic insects. Additionally, we suggest how potential restoration and conservation efforts will have to use a multi-faceted approach, targeting many points along the subsidy transfer pathway, to address these issues and highlight that subsidy restoration may require a different set of actions than simply reversing the pathway of degradation.  

Full Text URL: doi:10.1007/s13280-017-0989-4
Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Characterize the interaction between marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystem components.