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Chapter 3

ENV310H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Ecological Resilience, Ecosystem Services, Ecological Stability

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Barbara Murck

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Chapter 3: Multidisciplinary ways of Defining Sustainability
The Natural Sciences
o Biodiversity and Resilience:
Motivation behind the environmental movement (1960s and 1970s)
Ability of ecosystems to adapt to human stresses
Carrying capacity of human populatio hae ot reahed a poit of oershoot’
A consequence of overshoot:
Continuous and increasing biodiversity loss
Biodiversity is connected to human development and survival
Biodiversity definition:
Variety of life forms based on the planet
It is used as a measure of variety at the genetic, species, and ecosystems levels
for both animal and plant life forms
It is a variation found among and within habitats, biotic communities, and
ecological processes
Common theme in sustainable development discussions
Ecosystem link to biodiversity
Sustainable development agreements focus on the need to sustain and develop
human populations (particularly the global south)
Biodiversity plays an important role in the mitigation of ecosystem service loss to
When biodiversity is protected, ecological processes are sustained
Biodiversity loss plays into intergenerational equity which was posed in the Bruntland
As biodiversity declines and ecosystem services are lost or diminished, we effectively
deprive future geeratios of aess to these series ad dey the the aility... to
eet their o eeds
Allowing biodiversity to diminish denies future generations not only ecosystem services
but also the intrinsic value of plant and species
The ability of an ecosystem to sustain its processes is another way of referring to the
ecosystems stability
Concept used to understand ecological stability resilience
Resilience definition:
When ecosystem experiences a disturbance (destruction of a species, removal
of a natural resource etc.), there may be little impact to the processes of the
The outcome is determined by the ability of the system to absorb the
disturbance a reorganize so that the system maintains its function, structure,
identity, and feedback mechanisms
A resilient ecosystem has the capacity to maintain its current state under stress
and not flip into a new equilibrium state
One consequence of decreases in biodiversity is decreased ecological resilience
As species are lost from the ecosystem, that system becomes more vulnerable
and hence risk for ecological collapse increase
o Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY)
MSY imply thought its branding that is a sustainable method of harvesting natural
Has been used as a resource management method in both fisheries and forests since
the 19th century
MSY illustrates a common perception of conversation
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