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Marine Historical Ecology in Conservation$
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John N. Kittinger, Loren McClenachan, Keryn B. Gedan, and Louise K. Blight

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276949

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276949.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2022

Managing Human Legacies in a Changing Sea

Managing Human Legacies in a Changing Sea

An Introduction

(p.1) One Managing Human Legacies in a Changing Sea
Marine Historical Ecology in Conservation

John N. Kittinger

Louise K. Blight

Keryn B. Gedan

Loren Mcclenachan

University of California Press

Why do we need marine historical ecology and conservation? The fact is that since Darwin's On the Origin of Species, we have become quite good at inferring what existed—in terms of animals and plants—if only because we have (a) fossils and (b) a powerful theory which allows, nay demands, that we interpolate between the forms we know existed, because we have fossils, and the forms for which we have no direct evidence but which we can link to present forms, including us humans. The Earth's ecosystems have all been modified by human activities, and this applies also to essentially all marine ecosystems, which whaling and hunting of other marine mammals, and later fishing, have reduced to shadows of their former selves in terms of the larger organisms they now support and the benefits they can provide us. Some of these ecosystem modifications were unavoidable, but to a large extent, the depredations that we have imposed on the oceans have been entirely gratuitous. It is perfectly reasonable to ask ourselves how we could prevent such catastrophes in the future and whether we can rebuild now depleted populations of marine organisms so as to reduce the risk of this occurring again, and to have more to enjoy. This is what marine historical ecology in conservation is for: to inform us about what these populations have been in the past, and under which conditions these populations could flourish so that we can start helping them do so.

Keywords:   historical ecology, marine conservation, ocean policy, fisheries, restoration, endangered species

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