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The ecological forecast horizon, and examples of its uses and determinants

Petchey, Owen L.; Pontarp, Mikael LU ; Massie, Thomas M.; Kéfi, Sonia; Ozgul, Arpat; Weilenmann, Maja; Palamara, Gian Marco; Altermatt, Florian; Matthews, Blake and Levine, Jonathan M., et al. (2015) In Ecology Letters 18(7). p.597-611
Abstract

Forecasts of ecological dynamics in changing environments are increasingly important, and are available for a plethora of variables, such as species abundance and distribution, community structure and ecosystem processes. There is, however, a general absence of knowledge about how far into the future, or other dimensions (space, temperature, phylogenetic distance), useful ecological forecasts can be made, and about how features of ecological systems relate to these distances. The ecological forecast horizon is the dimensional distance for which useful forecasts can be made. Five case studies illustrate the influence of various sources of uncertainty (e.g. parameter uncertainty, environmental variation, demographic stochasticity and... (More)

Forecasts of ecological dynamics in changing environments are increasingly important, and are available for a plethora of variables, such as species abundance and distribution, community structure and ecosystem processes. There is, however, a general absence of knowledge about how far into the future, or other dimensions (space, temperature, phylogenetic distance), useful ecological forecasts can be made, and about how features of ecological systems relate to these distances. The ecological forecast horizon is the dimensional distance for which useful forecasts can be made. Five case studies illustrate the influence of various sources of uncertainty (e.g. parameter uncertainty, environmental variation, demographic stochasticity and evolution), level of ecological organisation (e.g. population or community), and organismal properties (e.g. body size or number of trophic links) on temporal, spatial and phylogenetic forecast horizons. Insights from these case studies demonstrate that the ecological forecast horizon is a flexible and powerful tool for researching and communicating ecological predictability. It also has potential for motivating and guiding agenda setting for ecological forecasting research and development.

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publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
keywords
Dynamics, Ecosystems, Environmental change, Forecasting, Futures, Prediction, Scenarios
in
Ecology Letters
volume
18
issue
7
pages
597 - 611
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:84931562756
ISSN
1461-023X
DOI
10.1111/ele.12443
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
91bd89ae-4f06-4c28-972d-2a0978cbf4ea
date added to LUP
2019-04-10 10:11:03
date last changed
2019-09-17 04:51:35
@article{91bd89ae-4f06-4c28-972d-2a0978cbf4ea,
  abstract     = {<p>Forecasts of ecological dynamics in changing environments are increasingly important, and are available for a plethora of variables, such as species abundance and distribution, community structure and ecosystem processes. There is, however, a general absence of knowledge about how far into the future, or other dimensions (space, temperature, phylogenetic distance), useful ecological forecasts can be made, and about how features of ecological systems relate to these distances. The ecological forecast horizon is the dimensional distance for which useful forecasts can be made. Five case studies illustrate the influence of various sources of uncertainty (e.g. parameter uncertainty, environmental variation, demographic stochasticity and evolution), level of ecological organisation (e.g. population or community), and organismal properties (e.g. body size or number of trophic links) on temporal, spatial and phylogenetic forecast horizons. Insights from these case studies demonstrate that the ecological forecast horizon is a flexible and powerful tool for researching and communicating ecological predictability. It also has potential for motivating and guiding agenda setting for ecological forecasting research and development.</p>},
  author       = {Petchey, Owen L. and Pontarp, Mikael and Massie, Thomas M. and Kéfi, Sonia and Ozgul, Arpat and Weilenmann, Maja and Palamara, Gian Marco and Altermatt, Florian and Matthews, Blake and Levine, Jonathan M. and Childs, Dylan Z. and Mcgill, Brian J. and Schaepman, Michael E. and Schmid, Bernhard and Spaak, Piet and Beckerman, Andrew P. and Pennekamp, Frank and Pearse, Ian S.},
  issn         = {1461-023X},
  keyword      = {Dynamics,Ecosystems,Environmental change,Forecasting,Futures,Prediction,Scenarios},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {7},
  pages        = {597--611},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Ecology Letters},
  title        = {The ecological forecast horizon, and examples of its uses and determinants},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12443},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2015},
}