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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

Natural or Anthropogenic?

Natural or Anthropogenic?

Novel Community Reassembly after Historical Overharvest of Pacific Coast Pinnipeds

(p.38) (p.39) Three Natural or Anthropogenic?
Marine Historical Ecology in Conservation

Jon M. Erlandson

Todd J. Braje

Robert L. Delong

Torben C. Rick

University of California Press

In this chapter, Jon M. Erlandson, Todd J. Braje, Robert L. DeLong, and Torben C. Rick examine the process of novel community reassembly following historical overharvest, through an examination of the historical ecology of pinnipeds along North America's Pacific Coast. We compare changes in the biogeography of ancient versus modern pinniped populations, and we discuss the implications for the use of archaeological records in conservation biology and environmental management. Driven to the brink of extinction by commercial hunting in historic times, several Pacific Coast pinniped species have recovered dramatically under federal and state protection. Pacific Coast archaeological records show that humans hunted pinnipeds for at least the past twelve thousand years, for instance, and that the ancient distribution and abundance of northern elephant seals and Guadalupe fur seals differed significantly from today. Knowledge of such long-term anthropogenic changes, along with a dearth of data about the “natural” state of Pacific Coast pinniped populations, raises interesting questions about the nature and sustainability of conservation efforts.

Keywords:   archaeology, pinnipeds, environmental management, historical ecology, recovery

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