Evolution in the Anthropocene: Informing Governance and Policy

Journal Article

Abstract: The Anthropocene biosphere constitutes an unprecedented phase in the evolution of life on Earth with one species, humans, exerting extensive control. The increasing intensity of anthropogenic forces in the twenty-first century has widespread implications for attempts to govern both human-dominated ecosystems and the last remaining wild ecosystems. Here, we review how evolutionary biology can inform governance and policies in the Anthropocene, focusing on five governance challenges that span biodiversity, environmental management, food and other biomass production, and human health. The five challenges are: (a) evolutionary feedbacks, (b) maintaining resilience, (c) alleviating constraints, (d) coevolutionary disruption, and (e) biotechnology. Strategies for governing these dynamics will themselves have to be coevolutionary, as eco-evolutionary and social dynamics change in response to each other.

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Citation: Søgaard Jørgensen, P., C. Folke and S. P. Carroll. 2019. Evolution in the Anthropocene: Informing Governance and Policy. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Volume 50: 23.1–23.20

Keywords: Eco-evolutionary dynamics; Policy; Management; Sustainability; Evolutionary biology; Complex adaptive systems