The Role of Constructed Ecosystems in an Era of Rapid Culture
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Rapid climate change is causing ecological disequilibrium in many parts of the planet, which makes restoration of natural ecosystems to predisturbance conditions less probable. An alternative to restored ecosystems may be constructed ecosystems that are designed to address this problem. These circumstances offer only two choices: (1) do nothing and see if natural systems can adjust and (2) design constructed ecosystems that can tolerate and adjust to rapid climate change. Constructed ecosystems are not restored to ecological predisturbance condition because the probability of restoration to predisturbance condition is minimal. The ecological procedures and goals for constructed ecosystems are similar to the emergency room at a hospital _ the goal is to keep the patient alive. The goal is a naturalistic biotic community with a structure and function similar to natural communities, which should consist of natural capital that provides ecosystem services similar to those provided by natural systems. An important feature of constructed ecosystems is a certain degree of standardization that permits large-scale development of colonizing species at a reasonable cost. These species should be tolerant of the rapid climate change the planet is now experiencing, which will probably continue for some time. Constructed systems might even require low maintenance.