In 2018, top scientists from the United States and the United Kingdom gathered in Washington, D.C. to talk about how climate change can affect terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems, often in interaction with other factors. Janet Franklin, a distinguished professor of botany and plant sciences at the University of California, Riverside co-organized the forum with a handful of other prominent scientists at the invitation of the premier scientific societies in each country, America’s National Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society.
The effort resulted in a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, the world’s first scientific journal (since 1665), called “Climate Change and Ecosystems -- Threats, Opportunities and Solutions.” Publication in this prestigious journal, which has published papers by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Steven Hawking, assures the wide impact of the findings of the forum. Franklin, along with co-organizers Yadvinder Malhi, Nathalie Seddon, Martin Solan, Monica G. Turner, Christopher B. Field, and Nancy Knowlton, oversaw peer review and edited papers contributed by 20 forum participants.
“This special issue is timely because the effects of climate change on Earth’s systems are accelerating and becoming more visible and are affecting both biodiversity and the services ecosystems provide to people,” Franklin said. “The papers in this volume bring together detailed analysis of marine, aquatic, and terrestrial ecosystems all over the world to assess how climate change interacts with other global change factors.”
The papers address research frontiers such as the effects of changes in climate extremes; interactions among stressors such as land use change and climate change; the potential for abrupt change; and food web interactions across terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
They also highlight opportunities to assist and manage ecosystems to enhance both their resilience and society’s resilience to climate change. A central focus is to consider how ecosystem management and restoration have the potential to contribute “nature-based solutions” to tackle both the causes and consequences of climate change.
“We don’t just talk about impacts,” Franklin said. “We talk about how to achieve resilience in this issue – what works, and what doesn’t work.”
Access to the articles in this special issue is free of charge for two weeks.