January 27, 2017
Ecosystem recovery from anthropogenic disturbances, either without human intervention or assisted by ecological restoration, is increasingly occurring worldwide. As ecosystems progress through recovery, it is important to estimate any resulting deficit in biodiversity and functions. Here we use data from 3,035 sampling plots worldwide, to quantify the interim reduction of biodiversity and functions occurring during the recovery process (that is, the ‘recovery debt’). Compared with reference levels, recovering ecosystems run annual deficits of 46–51% for organism abundance, 27–33% for species diversity, 32–42% for carbon cycling and 31–41% for nitrogen cycling.
María de Maeztu Excellence Unit 2023-2027 Ref. CEX2021-001201-M, funded by MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033
©2008 BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change.