Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Microbiome-derived carnitine mimics as previously unknown mediators of gut-brain axis communication
    Hulme, Heather ; Meikle, Lynsey M. ; Strittmatter, Nicole ; Hooft, Justin J.J. van der; Swales, John ; Bragg, Ryan A. ; Villar, Victor H. ; Ormsby, Michael J. ; Barnes, Stephanie ; Brown, Sheila L. ; Dexter, Alex ; Kamat, Maya T. ; Komen, Jasper C. ; Walker, Daniel ; Milling, Simon ; Osterweil, Emily K. ; MacDonald, Andrew S. ; Schofield, Chris J. ; Tardito, Saverio ; Bunch, Josephine ; Douce, Gillian ; Edgar, Julia M. ; Edrada-Ebel, Ru Angelie ; Goodwin, Richard J.A. ; Burchmore, Richard ; Wall, Daniel M. - \ 2020
    Science Advances 6 (2020)11. - ISSN 2375-2548

    Alterations to the gut microbiome are associated with various neurological diseases, yet evidence of causality and identity of microbiome-derived compounds that mediate gut-brain axis interaction remain elusive. Here, we identify two previously unknown bacterial metabolites 3-methyl-4-(trimethylammonio)butanoate and 4-(trimethylammonio)pentanoate, structural analogs of carnitine that are present in both gut and brain of specific pathogen-free mice but absent in germ-free mice. We demonstrate that these compounds are produced by anaerobic commensal bacteria from the family Lachnospiraceae (Clostridiales) family, colocalize with carnitine in brain white matter, and inhibit carnitine-mediated fatty acid oxidation in a murine cell culture model of central nervous system white matter. This is the first description of direct molecular inter-kingdom exchange between gut prokaryotes and mammalian brain cells, leading to inhibition of brain cell function.

    Distinct Biogeographic Phenomena Require a Specific Terminology: A Reply to Wilson and Sagoff
    Essl, Franz ; Dullinger, Stefan ; Genovesi, Piero ; Hulme, Philip E. ; Jeschke, Jonathan M. ; Katsanevakis, Stelios ; Kühn, Ingolf ; Lenzner, Bernd ; Pauchard, Aníbal ; Pyšek, Petr ; Rabitsch, Wolfgang ; Richardson, David M. ; Seebens, Hanno ; Kleunen, Mark Van; Putten, Wim H. van der; Vilà, Montserrat ; Bacher, Sven - \ 2020
    Bioscience 70 (2020)2. - ISSN 0006-3568 - p. 111 - 114.
    Is Climate Change the Most Important Challenge of our Times?
    Cornell, Sarah ; Gupta, A. - \ 2019
    In: Contemporary Climate Change Debates / Hulme, Mike, Routledge - ISBN 9781138333024
    Climate migration myths
    Boas, Ingrid ; Farbotko, Carol ; Adams, Helen ; Sterly, Harald ; Bush, Simon ; Geest, Kees van der; Wiegel, Hanne ; Ashraf, Hasan ; Baldwin, Andrew ; Bettini, Giovanni ; Blondin, Suzy ; Bruijn, Mirjam de; Durand-Delacre, David ; Fröhlich, Christiane ; Gioli, Giovanna ; Guaita, Lucia ; Hut, Elodie ; Jarawura, Francis X. ; Lamers, Machiel ; Lietaer, Samuel ; Nash, Sarah L. ; Piguet, Etienne ; Rothe, Delf ; Sakdapolrak, Patrick ; Smith, Lothar ; Tripathy Furlong, Basundhara ; Turhan, Ethemcan ; Warner, Jeroen ; Zickgraf, Caroline ; Black, Richard ; Hulme, Mike - \ 2019
    Nature Climate Change 9 (2019)12. - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 901 - 903.
    Misleading claims about mass migration induced by climate change continue to surface in both academia and policy. This requires a new research agenda on ‘climate mobilities’ that moves beyond simplistic assumptions and more accurately advances knowledge of the nexus between human mobility and climate change.
    A Conceptual Framework for Range-Expanding Species that Track Human-Induced Environmental Change
    Essl, Franz ; Dullinger, Stefan ; Genovesi, Piero ; Hulme, Philip E. ; Jeschke, Jonathan M. ; Katsanevakis, Stelios ; Kühn, Ingolf ; Lenzner, Bernd ; Pauchard, Aníbal ; Pyšek, Petr ; Rabitsch, Wolfgang ; Richardson, David M. ; Seebens, Hanno ; Kleunen, Mark Van; Putten, Wim H. Van Der; Vilà, Montserrat ; Bacher, Sven - \ 2019
    Bioscience 69 (2019)11. - ISSN 0006-3568 - p. 908 - 919.
    biogeography - biological invasions - climate change - framework - global environmental change - native - range expansion - spread - terminology

    For many species, human-induced environmental changes are important indirect drivers of range expansion into new regions. We argue that it is important to distinguish the range dynamics of such species from those that occur without, or with less clear, involvement of human-induced environmental changes. We elucidate the salient features of the rapid increase in the number of species whose range dynamics are human induced, and review the relationships and differences to both natural range expansion and biological invasions. We discuss the consequences for science, policy and management in an era of rapid global change and highlight four key challenges relating to basic gaps in knowledge, and the transfer of scientific understanding to biodiversity management and policy. We conclude that range-expanding species responding to human-induced environmental change will become an essential feature for biodiversity management and science in the Anthropocene. Finally, we propose the term neonative for these taxa.

    From ‘Global’ to ‘Revolutionary’ Development
    Büscher, Bram - \ 2019
    Development and Change 50 (2019)2. - ISSN 0012-155X - p. 484 - 494.
    This article argues that Horner and Hulme's call for moving towards ‘global development’ to do justice to changing 21st century development geographies neither contributes to advancing our understanding of contemporary development challenges nor helps articulate realistic responses to tackle them. A key problem is that they try to explain several general trends in the geography of development with reference to mainstream statistics without appropriate critical reflection or adequate theorization. Focusing specifically on the environmental and conservation aspects of development, this article contends that these omissions not only confuse the debate on the current state and geographies of development, they risk something more serious, namely the reinforcement of a generic development narrative which will intensify 21st century development challenges. The article concludes that what we need is not global development but revolutionary development.
    The influence of residence time and geographic extent on the strength of plant–soil feedbacks for naturalised Trifolium
    McGinn, Kevin J. ; Putten, Wim H. van der; Hulme, Philip E. ; Shelby, Natasha ; Weser, Carolin ; Duncan, Richard P. - \ 2018
    Journal of Ecology 106 (2018)1. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 207 - 217.
    alien - biological invasion - enemy release - exotic - invasion ecology - naturalisation - plant–soil (below-ground) interactions - soil biota - weed
    Release from natural enemies is considered an important mechanism underlying the success of plants introduced to new regions, but the degree to which alien plant species benefit from enemy release appears highly variable and context-dependent. Such variation could arise if enemy release is a transient phenomenon, whereby alien plant species initially escape but subsequently accumulate enemies in their new regions. To evaluate this hypothesis in terms of soil biota, we used 11 Trifolium (clover) species introduced to New Zealand from Europe to test whether species resident for longer or with a larger geographic extent in New Zealand were more adversely affected by soil communities in the introduced range, as expected if species have accumulated inhibitory soil biota over time. We used plant–soil feedback (PSF) experiments to compare the effect of soil biota on the growth of the Trifolium species in soil from their introduced (New Zealand) and native (Spain and the United Kingdom) ranges. We applied a novel statistical approach aimed at isolating the impact of antagonistic soil biota by accounting for variation in plant growth due to mutualistic rhizobia bacteria. The between-range differences in PSF varied considerably among the Trifolium species: some species were released from inhibitory PSF in the introduced range, but the majority experienced similar PSF in both ranges. Averaged over all 11 Trifolium species, PSF was less inhibitory in the introduced than in the native range, implying some release from soil-borne enemies. However, neither residence time nor geographic extent in the introduced range was significantly correlated with the strength of release from inhibitory PSF. Synthesis. Our multispecies study provides some evidence that alien plants can escape antagonistic soil biota in their introduced range, but highlights how plant–soil feedback responses can be highly variable among congeneric plant species in the same region. Our results do not support the hypothesis that the release from inhibitory plant–soil feedback is transient, questioning the generality of this phenomenon.
    Data from: Plant mutualisms with rhizosphere microbiota in introduced versus native ranges
    Shelby, Natasha ; Duncan, Richard P. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Mcginn, Kevin J. ; Weser, Carolin ; Hulme, Philip E. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University & Research
    Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions - alien - arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) - invasive - non-native - parasitism - rhizobia - root fungal symbiont (RFS)
    The performance of introduced plants can be limited by the availability of soil mutualists outside their native range, but how interactions with mutualists differ between ranges is largely unknown. If mutualists are absent, incompatible or parasitic, plants may compensate by investing more in root biomass, adapting to be more selective or by maximizing the benefits associated with the mutualists available. We tested these hypotheses using seven non-agricultural species of Trifolium naturalized in New Zealand (NZ). We grew seeds from two native (Spain, UK) and one introduced (NZ) provenance of each species in glasshouse pots inoculated with rhizosphere microbiota collected from conspecifics in each region. We compared how plant biomass, degree of colonization by rhizobia and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), and the growth benefit associated with each mutualist differed between provenances (native and introduced populations) when grown with soil microbiota from each region. We also tested whether the growth benefit of colonization by mutualists was correlated with the extent to which alien plants were distributed in the introduced range. Rhizobia colonization was generally lower among introduced relative to native provenances. In NZ soils, 9% of all plants lacked rhizobia and 16% hosted parasitic nodules, whereas in native-range soils, there was no evidence of parasitism and all but one plant hosted rhizobia. Growth rates as a factor of rhizobia colonization were always highest when plants were grown in soil from their home range. Colonization by AMF was similar for all provenances in all soils but for four out of seven species grown in NZ soils, the level of AMF colonization was negatively correlated with growth rate. In general, introduced provenances did not compensate for lower growth rates or lower mutualist associations by decreasing shoot–root ratios. Synthesis. Despite differences between introduced and native provenances in their associations with soil mutualists and substantial evidence of parasitism in the introduced range, neither level of colonization by mutualists nor the growth benefit associated with colonization was correlated with the extent of species’ distributions in the introduced range, suggesting mutualist associations are not predictive of invasion success for these species.
    No difference in the competitive ability of introduced and native Trifolium provenances when grown with soil biota from their introduced and native ranges
    Shelby, Natasha ; Hulme, P.E. ; Putten, W.H. van der; McGinn, Kevin J. ; Weser, Carolin ; Duncan, R.P. - \ 2016
    AoB Plants 8 (2016). - ISSN 2041-2851
    The evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA) hypothesis could explain why some introduced plant species perform better outside their native ranges. EICA proposes that introduced plants escape specialist pathogens or herbivores leading to selection for resources to be reallocated away from defence and toward greater competitive ability. We tested the hypothesis that escape from soil enemies has led to increased competitive ability in three non-agricultural Trifolium (Fabaceae) species native to Europe that were introduced to New Zealand in the 19th century. Trifolium performance is intimately tied to rhizosphere biota. Thus, we grew plants from one introduced (New Zealand) and two native (Spain and the UK) provenances for each of three species in pots inoculated with soil microbiota collected from the rhizosphere beneath conspecifics in the introduced and native ranges. Plants were grown singly and in competition with conspecifics from a different provenance in order to compare competitive ability in the presence of different microbial communities. In contrast to the predictions of the EICA hypothesis, we found no difference in the competitive ability of introduced and native provenances when grown with soil microbiota from either the native or introduced range. Although plants from introduced provenances of two species grew more slowly than native provenances in native-range soils, as predicted by the EICA hypothesis, plants from the introduced provenance were no less competitive than native conspecifics. Overall, the growth rates of plants grown singly was a poor predictor of their competitive ability, highlighting the importance of directly quantifying plant performance in competitive scenarios, rather than relying on surrogate measures such as growth rate.
    Digging deeper - How soil biota drive and respond to plant invasions : Plant mutualisms with rhizosphere microbiota in introduced versus native ranges
    Shelby, Natasha ; Duncan, Richard P. ; Putten, Wim H. Van Der; Mcginn, Kevin J. ; Weser, Carolin ; Hulme, Philip E. - \ 2016
    Journal of Ecology 104 (2016)5. - ISSN 0022-0477 - p. 1259 - 1270.
    1. The performance of introduced plants can be limited by the availability of soil mutualists outside their native range, but how interactions with mutualists differ between ranges is largely unknown. If mutualists are absent, incompatible or parasitic, plants may compensate by investing more in root biomass, adapting to be more selective or by maximizing the benefits associated with the mutualistsavailable. 2. We tested these hypotheses using seven non-agricultural species of Trifolium naturalized in New Zealand (NZ). We grew seeds from two native (Spain, UK) and one introduced (NZ) provenance of each species in glasshouse pots inoculated with rhizosphere microbiota collected from conspecifics in each region. 3. We compared how plant biomass, degree of colonization by rhizobia and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), and the growth benefit associated with each mutualist differed between provenances (native and introduced populations) when grown with soil microbiota from each region. We also tested whether the growth benefit of colonization by mutualists was correlated with the extent towhich alien plants were distributed in the introduced range. 4. Rhizobia colonization was generally lower among introduced relative to native provenances. In NZ soils, 9% of all plants lacked rhizobia and 16% hosted parasitic nodules, whereas in native-range soils, there was no evidence of parasitism and all but one plant hosted rhizobia. Growth rates as a factor of rhizobia colonization were always highest when plants were grown in soil from their home range. Colonization by AMF was similar for all provenances in all soils but for four out of seven species grown in NZ soils, the level of AMF colonization was negatively correlated with growth rate. In general, introduced provenances did not compensate for lower growth rates or lower mutualistassociations by decreasing shoot–root ratios. 5. Synthesis. Despite differences between introduced and native provenances in their associations with soil mutualists and substantial evidence of parasitism in the introduced range, neither level of colonization by mutualists nor the growth benefit associated with colonization was correlated with the extent of species’ distributions in the introduced range, suggesting mutualist associations are notpredictive of invasion success for these species.
    Trifolium species associate with a similar richness of soil-borne mutualists in their introduced and native ranges
    McGinn, K.J. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Duncan, R.P. ; Shelby, Natasha ; Weser, Carolin ; Hulme, P.E. - \ 2016
    Journal of Biogeography 43 (2016)5. - ISSN 0305-0270 - p. 944 - 954.
    Trifolium - Below-ground mutualism - Biological invasion - Exotic - Naturalization - Plant-soil interactions - Soil biota - Weed

    Aim: While plant species introduced to new regions may benefit from escaping natural enemies, their success may be impaired by losing key mutualists. We aimed to elucidate whether a selection of annual and perennial Trifolium (clover) species have lost associations with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (rhizobia) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in their introduced range. Location: Introduced range in New Zealand (NZ) and native range in the United Kingdom (UK). Methods: We compared the strain richness of rhizobia associated with five Trifolium species in both ranges using genetic fingerprinting (rep-PCR with ERIC primers). Phylogenetic analysis of the nodD gene was conducted to test for between-range differences in rhizobia genotypes associated with seven Trifolium species. We also used TRFLP to compare the richness of AMF associated with three Trifolium species in both ranges. Results: Genetic fingerprinting indicated that Trifolium associate with a similar richness of rhizobia strains in NZ as they do in the UK. According to variation in the nodD gene, genotypes of rhizobia were indistinguishable between NZ and UK provenances. A total of 17 AMF operational taxonomic units were detected but there were no significant between-range differences in richness or in community structure. Main conclusions: Contrary to general expectations regarding the loss of mutualists following species introduction, our findings suggest that alien plants, including those accidentally introduced, can have access to rich communities of soil-borne mutualists that are likely to facilitate successful naturalization.

    What does policy-relevant global environmental knowledge do? The cases of climate and biodiversity
    Turnhout, E. ; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Hulme, M. - \ 2016
    Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 18 (2016). - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 65 - 72.
    There is a surge in global knowledge-making efforts to inform environmental governance. This article synthesises the current state of the art of social science scholarship about the generation and use of global environmental knowledge. We focus specifically on the issues of scale — providing globalized representations of the environment — and relevance — providing knowledge in a form that is considered usable for decision-making. Using the examples of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Millennium Assessment, the article discusses what policy relevant global knowledge does: how it represents the environment, and how this specific form of knowledge connects with governance and policy.
    Climate change and the assessment of expert knowledge: Does the ipcc model need updating?
    Beck, S. ; Borie, M. ; Esguerra, A. ; Chilvers, A. ; Heubach, K. ; Hulme, M. ; Lidskog, R. ; Lövbrand, E. ; Marquard, E. ; Miller, C. ; Nadim, T. ; Nesshöver, C. ; Settele, J. ; Turnhout, E. ; Vasileiadou, E. ; Görg, C. - \ 2014
    Bridges 40 (2014).
    Bridges is the free, online magazine of the OSTA published by Office of Science & Technology Austria, located in Washington D.C.
    Towards a Reflexive Turn in the Governance of Global Environmental Expertise. The Cases of the IPCC and the IPBES.
    Beck, S. ; Borie, M. ; Chilvers, J. ; Esguerra, A. ; Heubach, K. ; Hulme, M. ; Lidskog, R. ; Lövbrand, E. ; Marquard, E. ; Miller, C. ; Nadim, T. ; Neßhöver, C. ; Settele, J. ; Turnhout, E. ; Vasileiadou, E. ; Görg, C. - \ 2014
    Gaia 23 (2014)2. - ISSN 0940-5550 - p. 80 - 87.
    science-policy interface - biodiversity - assessments
    The role and design of global expert organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) needs rethinking. Acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all model does not exist, we suggest a reflexive turn that implies treating the governance of expertise as a matter of political contestation.
    Global knowledge for policy: the perils of policy relevance.
    Turnhout, Esther - \ 2013
    Conservation policy : listen to the voices of experience
    Turnhout, E. ; Bloomfield, B. ; Hulme, M. ; Vogel, J. ; Wynne, B. - \ 2012
    Nature 488 (2012). - ISSN 0028-0836 - p. 454 - 455.
    The intergovernmental body for biodiversity must draw on a much broader range of knowledge and stakeholders than the IPCC, say Esther Turnhout and colleagues.
    Letter to the editor: Science-Policy Interface: Beyond Assessments
    Hulme, M. ; Mahony, M. ; Beck, S. ; Görg, C. ; Hansjürgens, B. ; Hauck, J. ; Nesshöver, C. ; Paulsch, A. ; Vandewalle, M. ; Wittmer, H. ; Böschen, S. ; Bridgewater, P. ; Diaw, M.C. ; Fabre, P. ; Figueroa, A. ; Heong, K.L. ; Korn, H. ; Leemans, R. ; Lövbrand, E. ; Hamid, M.N. ; Monfreda, C. ; Pielke, R. ; Settele, J. ; Winter, M. de; Vadrot, A.B.M. ; Hove, S. van den; Sluijs, J.P. van der - \ 2011
    Science 333 (2011)6043. - ISSN 0036-8075 - p. 697 - 698.
    In recognition of our inability to halt damaging ecosystem change (1–4), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was asked in December 2010 to convene a meeting “to determine modalities and institutional arrangements” of a new assessment body, akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to track causes and consequences of anthropogenic ecosystem change (5). The “blueprint” for this body, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), lies in recommendations of an intergovernmental conference held in the Republic of Korea in June 2010: the Busan outcome (6). But it is a blueprint for governance rather than science. Using the experience from past assessments of global biodiversity and ecosystem services change (1, 7, 8) and from the IPCC (9–11), we ask what the policy-oriented charges in the Busan outcome imply for the science of the assessment process
    Mainstreaming Adaptation in Regional Land Use and Water Management
    Werners, S.E. ; David Tàbara, J. ; Neufeldt, H. ; McEvoy, D. ; Dai, X. ; Flachner, Z. ; West, J. ; Cots, F. ; Trombi, G. ; Lugeri, N. ; Matczak, P. ; Nabuurs, G.J. - \ 2010
    In: Making climate change work for us: European perspectives on adaptation and mitigation strategies (eds Hulme, M., and H. Neufeldt) / Hulme, M., Cambridge, UK : Cambridge University Press - ISBN 9780521119412 - 446 p.
    PRATIQUE: a research project to enhance pest risk analysis techniques in the European Union
    Baker, R.H.A. ; Battisti, A. ; Bremmer, J. ; Kenis, M. ; Mumford, J. ; Petter, F. ; Schrader, G. ; Bacher, S. ; DeBarro, P. ; Hulme, P.E. ; Karadjova, O. ; Oude Lansink, A. ; Pruvost, O. ; Pysek, P. ; Roques, A. ; Baranchikov, Y. ; Sun, J.H. - \ 2009
    EPPO Bulletin 39 (2009)1. - ISSN 0250-8052 - p. 87 - 93.
    PRATIQUE is an EC-funded 7th Framework research project designed to address the major challenges for pest risk analysis (PRA) in Europe. It has three principal objectives: (a) to assemble the datasets required to construct PRAs valid for the whole of the EU, (b) to conduct multi-disciplinary research that enhances the techniques used in PRA and (c) to provide a decision support scheme for PRA that is efficient and user-friendly. The research will be undertaken by scientists from 13 institutes in the EU and one each from Australia and New Zealand with subcontractors from institutes in China and Russia. They will produce a structured inventory of PRA datasets for the EU and undertake targeted research to improve existing procedures and develop new methods for (a) the assessment of economic, environmental and social impacts, (b) summarising risk while taking account of uncertainty, (c) mapping endangered areas (d) pathway risk analysis and systems approaches and (e) guiding actions during emergencies caused by outbreaks of harmful organisms. The results will be tested and provided as protocols, decision support systems and computer programs with examples of best practice linked to a computerised European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) PRA scheme
    Biodiversity conservation planning adapted to climate change
    Geertsema, W. ; Opdam, P.F.M. ; Vos, C.C. ; Kramer, K. - \ 2008
    In: Abstracts and panels of Resilience 2008. - - p. 109 - 109.
    Current conservation planning defines targets for conservation sites that are based on historic references of vegetation types and local species occurrence or density (Margules et al. 1994). The long term effectiveness of such a static, site-oriented strategy is currently challenged by new scientific insight on ecosystem functioning (Gaston et al. 2006) and the unpredictability of the effects of increased perturbations caused by climate change (Mitchell and Hulme 1999). Therefore, a paradigm shift in biodiversity conservation planning is needed. Three main challenges are identified. Firstly, the exclusion of disturbances in current conservation practice ignores the nonequilibrium nature of ecosystems (Holling 1973). Disturbances are increasingly considered on the one hand the base of co-existence of species and therefore of biodiversity. On the other hand disturbances allow ecosystems to adapt to changed environmental conditions and are considered a source of renewal. Preventing disturbances to occur and restoring ecosystems to its original form, if an inadvertent disturbance did occur, results in a loss of biodiversity and adaptive capacity. Disturbances should not be perceived as undesirable, but be incorporated as an integral part of biodiversity conservation planning. Secondly, species differ in their sensitivity and response to different sources of disturbance. This is illustrated by the various responses to changing weather conditions due to climate change. The differences in the responses of species result in changing species composition of communities. Hence, the very base of current conservation policy that community types have high predictive capacity for the occurrence of target species, erodes away as climate change progresses. Instead of a focus on individual species as conservation targets for protected areas, the presence of functional diversity enabling differential responses to disturbances and enabling the continuation of ecosystem functioning should be the focus of biodiversity conservation planning. Thirdly, most existing reserves are too small to incorporate long term and large scale dynamics (Bengtsson et al. 2003). Population studies in fragmented ecosystem patterns on the landscape scale have shown dynamic patterns typical for metapopulations (Hanski & Gilpin 1991; Verboom et al. 2001; Vos et al. 2001), implying that the local occurrence of species is often unpredictable and largely dependent on characteristics of ecosystem networks at the regional scale level (Opdam & Wiens 2002; Opdam et al. 2003). Also the consequences of climate change on species ranges cannot be controlled or counteracted by local management actions. Thus the scale of the individual reserve is too small to sustain nature quality targets. Instead of local sites as the object of planning, a landscape and regional approach in biodiversity conservation planning is needed. Science has to play a key role in the paradigm shift. Science needs to provide evidence to societal partners about the effectiveness of dealing with ecosystems in a more adaptive way. Convincing cases, based on thorough science, of land use planning where biodiversity and ecosystems are considered in a more functional way are pivotal. Huge efforts are demanded before science can provide operational methods for goal setting, design and evaluation for regional planning. For example, a framework for the diagnosis of effect and response diversity should be developed. Ecosystems and ecosystem networks should be analysed for their key structures and processes and feedback mechanisms, based on such an analysis key functional groups are identified. Next the potential variation of functional groups needs to be explored and interpreted to generate a system of reference values for determining an operational framework for goal setting. We need to develop insight in the quantitative relation between the variation of functional groups, the adaptive capacity of ecosystems and ecosystem networks and the spatial characteristics. The challenge to science is not only to make this information quantitatively applicable in a spatial context, but science should also be more effective in transferring this knowledge into societal decision-making than it has been up to now. Implementing the paradigm shift is a societal learning process. Science should be part of that, and learn from practical applications just as well as practice is learning from science. A key issue in this learning process is how to deal with uncertainty. We will not be able to predict exact levels of adaptive capacity, because the nature, frequency and severity of disturbances that ecosystems will be faced with are unpredictable. Ecosystems are moving targets, with multiple potential futures that are uncertain and unpredictable (Holling and Meffe 1996). What we intend to realize with this approach is that we learn, in the end, to manage ecosystems and landscapes in such a way that they are adapted to the unpredictability and uncertainty that we face.
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