Ecological disturbances are occurring with greater frequency and intensity than in the past. Under projected shifts in disturbance regimes and patterns of recovery, societal and environmental impacts are expected to be more extreme and to span larger spatial extents. Moreover, preexisting conditions will require a longer time to re‐establish, if they do so at all. The word “unprecedented” is appearing more often in news reporting on droughts, fires, hurricanes, tsunamis, ice storms, and insect outbreaks. The causes and effects of these events are often exacerbated by human modifications of natural environments and influenced by technological developments.
Virginia H. Dale
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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