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ESR 54:285-310 (2024)  -  DOI:

Global research priorities for historical ecology to inform conservation

Loren McClenachan1,2,*,#, Torben Rick3, Ruth H. Thurstan4, Andrew Trant5, Peter S. Alagona6, Heidi K. Alleway7, Chelsey Armstrong8, Rebecca Bliege Bird9, Nadia T. Rubio-Cisneros10,11, Miguel Clavero12, André C. Colonese13, Katie Cramer14, Ancilleno O. Davis15, Joshua Drew16, Michelle M. Early-Capistrán17, Graciela Gil-Romera18, Molly Grace19, Marco B. A. Hatch20, Eric Higgs2, Kira Hoffman21,22, Jeremy B. C. Jackson23, Antonieta Jerardino24, Michelle J. LeFebvre25, Heike K. Lotze26, Ryan S. Mohammed27, Naia Morueta-Holme28, Catalina Munteanu29, Alexis M. Mychajliw30, Bonnie Newsom31, Aaron O’Dea32,33, Daniel Pauly34, Péter Szabó35,36, Jimena Torres37,38, John Waldman39, Catherine West40, Liqiang Xu41, Hirokazu Yasuoka42, Philine S. E. zu Ermgassen43, Kyle S. Van Houtan44,#

1Department of History, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
2School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
3Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA
4Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, Penryn TR10 9FE, UK
5School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
6Environmental Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
7The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA 22203, USA
8Indigenous Studies, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
9Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16801, USA
10Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza 66450, Mexico
11Mar Sustentable Ciencia y Conservación, Monterrey 66450, Mexico
12Estación Biológica de Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Sevilla 41092, Spain
13Department of Prehistory and Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona 08193, Spain
14Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
15The Bahamas National Trust, Nassau, The Bahamas
16Department of Environmental Biology, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
17Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA
18Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Zaragoza 50059, Spain
19Department of Biology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK
20Environmental Sciences, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225, USA
21Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
22Bulkley Valley Research Centre, Smithers, BC V0J 2N0, Canada
23Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA
24Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of South Africa, Pretoria 0028, South Africa
25Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
26Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
27Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
28Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
29Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
30Department of Biology and Program in Environmental Studies, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753, USA
31Department of Anthropology, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
32Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa 0843-03092, Republic of Panamá
33Sistema Nacional de Investigación, Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia Tecnología e Innovación, Panamá City 0801, Republic of Panamá
34Sea Around Us, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
35Department of Vegetation Ecology, Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, 252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic
36Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Masaryk University, 252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic
37Cape Horn International Center, Universidad de Magallanes, Cabo de Hornos, Chile
38Millennium Nucleus Program, UPWELL Foundation, Chile
39Queens College and Graduate School, City University of New York, Flushing, NY 11367, USA
40Department of Anthropology and Archaeology Program, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
41School of Resources and Environmental Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Anhui 230036, PR China
42Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8304, Japan
43Changing Oceans Group, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9XP, UK
44Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA
*Corresponding author: #These authors contributed equally to this paper

ABSTRACT: Historical ecology draws on a broad range of information sources and methods to provide insight into ecological and social change, especially over the past ∼12000 yr. While its results are often relevant to conservation and restoration, insights from its diverse disciplines, environments, and geographies have frequently remained siloed or underrepresented, restricting their full potential. Here, scholars and practitioners working in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments on 6 continents and various archipelagoes synthesize knowledge from the fields of history, anthropology, paleontology, and ecology with the goal of describing global research priorities for historical ecology to influence conservation. We used a structured decision-making process to identify and address questions in 4 key priority areas: (1) methods and concepts, (2) knowledge co-production and community engagement, (3) policy and management, and (4) climate change impacts. This work highlights the ways that historical ecology has developed and matured in its use of novel information sources, efforts to move beyond extractive research practices and toward knowledge co-production, and application to management challenges including climate change. We demonstrate the ways that this field has brought together researchers across disciplines, connected academics to practitioners, and engaged communities to create and apply knowledge of the past to address the challenges of our shared future.

KEY WORDS: Community engagement · Knowledge co-production · Ecological restoration · Conservation policy · Environmental management · Climate change

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Cite this article as: McClenachan L, Rick T, Thurstan RH, Trant A and others (2024) Global research priorities for historical ecology to inform conservation. Endang Species Res 54:285-310.

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