Rapid, extensive, and ongoing environmental change increasingly demands that humans intervene in ecosystems to maintain or restore ecosystem services and biodiversity. At the same time, the basic principles and tenets of restoration ecology and conservation biology are being debated and reshaped. Escalating global change is resulting in widespread no-analogue environments and novel ecosystems that render traditional goals unachievable. Policymakers and the general public, however, have embraced restoration without an understanding of its limitations, which has led to perverse policy outcomes. Therefore, a new ecology, free of pre- and misconceptions and directed toward meaningful interventions, is needed. Interventions include altering the biotic and abiotic structures and processes within ecosystems and changing social and policy settings. Interventions can be aimed at leverage points, both within ecosystems and in the broader social system—particularly, feedback loops that either maintain a particular state or precipitate a rapid change from one state to another.
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Vol. 61 • No. 6