Bland et al 2018 measuring risk of ecological collapse

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Bland, L.M., Rowland, J.A., Regan, T.J., Keith, D.A., Murray, N.J., Lester, R.E., Linn, M., Rodríguez, J.P. and Nicholson, E., 2018. Developing a standardized definition of ecosystem collapse for risk assessment. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 16(1), pp.29-36.

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  • Completed a global literature review examining studies of ecological collapse in temperate forest and pelagic ocean ecosystems. Study focused on how to evaluate risk of collapse, and on ecological functions rather than social costs.
  • Defining the characteristics of the initial and collapsed ecosystem is critical for defining indicators, and distinguishing between variability and directional change in condition.
  • Observation of collapse in smaller patches can suggest indicators of landscape-scale collapse (e.g. watersheds without salmon compared to watersheds with salmon? Pcereghino (talk))
  • Many studies neglect the observation of how change in ecosystem processes lead to collapse. Understanding pathways to collapse is important for identifying intermediary states, and indicators.
  • No studies used expert elicitation methods to define collapsed states.
  • Collapse thresholds rarely use quantitative methods to establish when change in an indicator suggests a change in state.
  • Indicators may be "spatial, biotic, or abiotic" and few studies used systematic criteria to score or compare indicators.
  • In this context, loss of habitats that sustain biodiversity varies from system to system.
  • What is the appropriate scale at which to observe and report on collapse?