Landscape Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 8, pp 1363–1369 | Cite as

Novel ecosystems and social-ecological resilience

  • Marcus J. CollierEmail author



Novel ecosystems are anthropogenic landscapes that cannot be returned to their original ecological status. Little is known the social-ecological dynamics of these never-before-seen ecosystems. Less is known of their implications for society, sustainability and transitioning.

Objective and methods

This literature review contends that novel ecosystems may be regarded as exemplars of social-ecological resilience and that the exploration of potential opportunities within novel ecosystem theory is being constrained by a lack of investigation.


Societal values in relation to novel ecosystems are unknown. Since societal values can influence conservation and restoration policies and practice, it is suggested that future policy prescriptions will need to explore the fundamentals this emerging relationship.


It could be contended that such complex issues such as novel ecosystems will demand a science of transition, where the desire is to combine the science of discovery and science of engagement into a normative framework for societal change based on reality and realistic objectives and goals.


Novel ecosystems Resilience Social-ecological systems Transitioning Transitory landscapes 



I would like to thank the editor and the reviewers for their detailed comments and creative, positive suggestions. I would also like to thank Lauren Hallett, Eric Higgs and Mark Rounsevell for their insights in the early stages of my research and thinking. This work was supported by the Enterprise Ireland, ERC co-ordinator support grant 2013 and by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 308393 “OPERAs”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCD School of Geography, Planning and Environmental PolicyUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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