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Trends Ecol Evol. 2010 Apr;25(4):241-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.10.008. Epub 2009 Nov 16.

Ecosystem stewardship: sustainability strategies for a rapidly changing planet.

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Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA.


Ecosystem stewardship is an action-oriented framework intended to foster the social-ecological sustainability of a rapidly changing planet. Recent developments identify three strategies that make optimal use of current understanding in an environment of inevitable uncertainty and abrupt change: reducing the magnitude of, and exposure and sensitivity to, known stresses; focusing on proactive policies that shape change; and avoiding or escaping unsustainable social-ecological traps. As we discuss here, all social-ecological systems are vulnerable to recent and projected changes but have sources of adaptive capacity and resilience that can sustain ecosystem services and human well-being through active ecosystem stewardship.

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