Merging paleobiology with conservation biology to guide the future of terrestrial ecosystems. Academic Article uri icon


  • Conservation of species and ecosystems is increasingly difficult because anthropogenic impacts are pervasive and accelerating. Under this rapid global change, maximizing conservation success requires a paradigm shift from maintaining ecosystems in idealized past states toward facilitating their adaptive and functional capacities, even as species ebb and flow individually. Developing effective strategies under this new paradigm will require deeper understanding of the long-term dynamics that govern ecosystem persistence and reconciliation of conflicts among approaches to conserving historical versus novel ecosystems. Integrating emerging information from conservation biology, paleobiology, and the Earth sciences is an important step forward on the path to success. Maintaining nature in all its aspects will also entail immediately addressing the overarching threats of growing human population, overconsumption, pollution, and climate change.

published proceedings

  • Science

altmetric score

  • 318.552

author list (cited authors)

  • Barnosky, A. D., Hadly, E. A., Gonzalez, P., Head, J., Polly, P. D., Lawing, A. M., ... Zhang, Z.

citation count

  • 174

complete list of authors

  • Barnosky, Anthony D||Hadly, Elizabeth A||Gonzalez, Patrick||Head, Jason||Polly, P David||Lawing, A Michelle||Eronen, Jussi T||Ackerly, David D||Alex, Ken||Biber, Eric||Blois, Jessica||Brashares, Justin||Ceballos, Gerardo||Davis, Edward||Dietl, Gregory P||Dirzo, Rodolfo||Doremus, Holly||Fortelius, Mikael||Greene, Harry W||Hellmann, Jessica||Hickler, Thomas||Jackson, Stephen T||Kemp, Melissa||Koch, Paul L||Kremen, Claire||Lindsey, Emily L||Looy, Cindy||Marshall, Charles R||Mendenhall, Chase||Mulch, Andreas||Mychajliw, Alexis M||Nowak, Carsten||Ramakrishnan, Uma||Schnitzler, Jan||Das Shrestha, Kashish||Solari, Katherine||Stegner, Lynn||Stegner, M Allison||Stenseth, Nils Chr||Wake, Marvalee H||Zhang, Zhibin

publication date

  • February 2017