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Conservation and restoration of plant-animal mutualisms on oceanic islands


Kaiser-Bunbury, C N; Traveset, A; Hansen, D M (2010). Conservation and restoration of plant-animal mutualisms on oceanic islands. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 12(2):131-143.

Abstract

Islands harbour much of the world's threatened biodiversity. Recent work has highlighted how it is not species diversity per se but rather the interactions between organisms that breathes life into ecosystems. Thus, the real challenge to preserving and restoring biodiversity on islands is not to only focus on species themselves, but more importantly on maintaining and restoring the integrity of interactions between the species. Here we argue that mutualistic plant-animal interactions play a pivotal role with regards to conservation and restoration on islands. Furthermore, these interactions are ideally suited for inter-island comparisons due to ecological and evolutionary similarities across geographical and taxonomical boundaries. The similarities include highly generalised mutualistic systems, the evolution and readjustment of plant reproductive traits, and a disharmony in taxonomic groups of mutualists, compared to continental ecosystems. We highlight past and present threats to island plant-animal mutualisms, as well as the challenges and opportunities inherent to these interactions. In particular, we (1) argue that mutualistic networks provide an ideal approach to collect information and advance our knowledge on the systems, (2) suggest the use of interactions as biodiversity monitoring and assessment tools, (3) highlight the differences and similarities between pollination and seed dispersal interactions in the context of restoration, and (4) briefly discuss the ambiguous role of alien invasive species in the management of mutualistic interactions. Finally, we highlight how a recently proposed but controversial restoration strategy, rewilding, can be gainfully applied to and further advanced in island settings. (C) 2009 Rubel Foundation, ETH Zurich. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Abstract

Islands harbour much of the world's threatened biodiversity. Recent work has highlighted how it is not species diversity per se but rather the interactions between organisms that breathes life into ecosystems. Thus, the real challenge to preserving and restoring biodiversity on islands is not to only focus on species themselves, but more importantly on maintaining and restoring the integrity of interactions between the species. Here we argue that mutualistic plant-animal interactions play a pivotal role with regards to conservation and restoration on islands. Furthermore, these interactions are ideally suited for inter-island comparisons due to ecological and evolutionary similarities across geographical and taxonomical boundaries. The similarities include highly generalised mutualistic systems, the evolution and readjustment of plant reproductive traits, and a disharmony in taxonomic groups of mutualists, compared to continental ecosystems. We highlight past and present threats to island plant-animal mutualisms, as well as the challenges and opportunities inherent to these interactions. In particular, we (1) argue that mutualistic networks provide an ideal approach to collect information and advance our knowledge on the systems, (2) suggest the use of interactions as biodiversity monitoring and assessment tools, (3) highlight the differences and similarities between pollination and seed dispersal interactions in the context of restoration, and (4) briefly discuss the ambiguous role of alien invasive species in the management of mutualistic interactions. Finally, we highlight how a recently proposed but controversial restoration strategy, rewilding, can be gainfully applied to and further advanced in island settings. (C) 2009 Rubel Foundation, ETH Zurich. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Monitoring of interactions; Mutualistic networks; Pollination; Rewilding; Seed dispersal
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:12 Mar 2012 14:04
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 13:25
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1433-8319
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2009.10.002
Other Identification Number:IDS Number: 603FB

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