Disturbance Ecology and Biological Diversity : Scale, Context, and Nature book cover
1st Edition

Disturbance Ecology and Biological Diversity
Scale, Context, and Nature

ISBN 9780367861773
Published November 15, 2019 by CRC Press
202 Pages 12 Color & 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In contexts outside of ecology, the term "disturbance" carries a variety of negative connotations. Within ecology, however, disturbances are neither inherently negative nor positive for ecological systems; instead, their effects depend on the context, scale, and species involved. As ecologists better understand these context-dependencies, the field of disturbance ecology has matured, diversified, and become more complex and nuanced over the past several decades.

Ecological Disturbance: Scale, Context, and Nature unites a collection of perspectives that weave together the topics of disturbance ecology and biological diversity. Chapters cover wildfire, disease, herbivory, surface mining, land-use conversions, and forest harvest, among numerous other natural and anthropogenic influences on ecosystems. The book begins with an introduction that reviews how thinking on perturbations and community organization has evolved over the last century, then explores how disturbances might be meaningfully categorized, and how biological diversity has been conceptualized. The introduction also explores the roles of scale and ecological context in disturbance outcomes, and reviews recent analytical and methodological advances relevant to disturbance ecology. The book then moves into forested ecosystems, where much of the early literature on disturbances arose, and focuses on scale-dependence, relationships of natural and anthropogenic disturbance, and recovery or successional trajectories. The next section focuses on emerging disturbances amidst global change, including non-native species, disease, and synergies with other disturbances. The book ends with a section on land-use disturbance, focusing on landscape pattern, resilience, and recovery dynamics. Throughout, the book’s material spans a wide diversity of spatial and temporal scales, disciplines, taxa, and levels of ecological organization.

This book may be used in a seminar course, as a compendium for disturbance ecology curricula that are at the interface of conceptual and applied ecology, and in other circumstances to illustrate how different authors have handled the various pragmatic challenges that arise in studies that ask broader questions. In an era of unprecedented global change, this book constitutes a valuable source for researchers, students, natural resource managers, and other conservation practitioners interested in delving deeper into disturbance ecology.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Natural versus Anthropogenic Disturbances. Disturbance: Resistance, Resilience, and Recovery. Disturbance Synergies. Synthesis.

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Dr. Erik A. Beever is a Research Ecologist at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey and is Affiliate Faculty in the Ecology Department at Montana State University. Dr. Beever has nearly 100 publications in diverse scientific journals and in diverse subdisciplines of biology. He is a member of the IUCN World Commission on  Protected Areas (where he serves as the North American Representative for the Mountains Network), the IUCN SSC Lagomorph Specialist Group, and the IUCN SSC Climate Change Specialist Group. He is also a member of The Wildlife Society (in which he chaired the Biological Diversity Working Group), Society for Conservation Biology, American Society of Mammalogists, World Lagomorph Society, Mountain Research Initiative,  Consortium for Integrated Climate Research in Western Mountains, and Sigma Xi. He has served as a peer reviewer for 57 scientific journals, and delivered >200 presentations to local to international audiences. He has performed field research on plants, soils, most vertebrate clades (especially mammals), and insects, and in a range of ecosystems of the western hemisphere. In addition to investigating numerous aspects of disturbance ecology, he also seeks to understand mechanisms of biotic responses to long-term weather patterns and variability, and monitoring in conservation reserves, all at community to landscape scales, as well as other topics of conservation ecology, wildlife biology, and landscape ecology. He is interested in questions at the nexus of basic and applied science, especially those that also inform management and conservation efforts for species, communities, and ecosystems. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at U.C. Davis, Erik received his Ph.D. from the Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Suzanne Prange received her B.S. and M.S. in Biology from the University of South Alabama and her Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also completed post-doctoral training at Colorado State University and Ohio State University. The majority of her research has been dedicated to threatened and endangered forest wildlife species,  and she worked extensively with the previously state-endangered bobcat in Ohio. In addition to bobcats, she has worked with numerous mammalian species, from southern flying squirrels to coyotes. She has authored peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, worked extensively on manuscript reviews for numerous journals, and served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Mammalogy. She has served on several executive boards and committees within The Wildlife Society and the American Society of Mammalogists. Currently, she is dedicated to wildlife conservation research in Ohio’s Appalachian region, and is the Executive Director and Lead Scientist at the Appalachian Wildlife Research Institute.


Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala is President and Chief Scientist of the Geos Institute (www.geosinstitute.org) in Ashland, Oregon and former President of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America Section (www.conbio.org). He is an internationally renowned author of over 200 science papers on forest and fire ecology, conservation biology, endangered species management, and landscape ecology. Dominick has given plenary and keynote talks ranging from academic conferences to the United Nations Earth Summit. He has appeared in National Geographic, Science Digest, Science Magazine, Scientific American, Time Magazine, Audubon Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine, High Country News, Terrain Magazine, NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Jim Lehrer News Hour, CNN, MSNBC, Living on Earth (NPR), several PBS documentaries and even Fox News! Dominick is currently on Oregon’s Global Warming Commission Subcommittee on Forest Carbon and is Editor of numerous scientific journals and publications. His book Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World: Ecology and Conservation (2011, Island Press: Washington, D.C.) received an academic excellence award from Choice magazine, one of the nation’s top book review journals. His recent co-authored book—The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix (2015, Elsevier: Boston)—presents groundbreaking science on the ecological importance of wildfires. Dominick co-founded the Geos Institute in July 2006 and is motivated by his work to leave a living planet for his two daughters, grandkids, and all those that follow.