Good news! New research done at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Science reinforces the idea that ecosystems are quiet resilient and can rebound from pollution and environmental degradation. Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the study shows that most damaged ecosystems worldwide can recover within a single lifetime, if the source of pollution is removed and restoration work done.
The analysis found that on average forest ecosystems can recover in 42 years, while in takes only about 10 years for the ocean bottom to recover. If an area has seen multiple, interactive disturbances, it can take on average 56 years for recovery. In general, most ecosystems take longer to recover from human-induced disturbances than from natural events, such as hurricanes.
To reach these recovery averages, the researchers looked at data from peer-reviewed studies over the past 100 years on the rate of ecosystem recovery once the source of pollution was removed.
Interestingly, the researchers found that it appears that the rate at which an ecosystem recovers may be independent of its degraded condition: Aquatic systems may recover more quickly than, say, a forest, because the species and organisms that live in that ecosystem turn over more rapidly than in the forest.
From: Tree Hugger
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