Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology
Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology every once in a while a gathering of scholars discuss and debate a particular topic that stands out as a guidepost and significant turning point for an entire field. I believe that this book chronicles the results of just such an event.
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This book grew from a symposium hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa in November 2008. The meeting, entitled ‘ Fifty years of invasion ecology – the legacy of Charles Elton ’ , was attended by 137 delegates from at least 14 countries (Fig. Intro 1 ).
It set out to explore advances in the study of biological invasions in the half-century since the publication of Charles Elton ’ s book The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants, and to identify challenges for the future (Garc ı á – Berthou 2010 ).
Elton ’ s (1958) book is an important milestone in the history of invasion ecology (Intro Box 1). There are, however, many other good reasons that make it interesting, important and exciting to examine changes in the extent of, and scientific interest in, biological invasions over the past half-century.
The quotation cited above neatly summarizes the context for this book. Many processes were set in motion in the middle of the 20th century that were highly influential in shaping the state of our environment today, including the extent, magnitude, and trajectories of biological invasions.
Although the seeds – literally and figuratively – of many invasions were sown much earlier, the fact that the global human population has grown two and a half times and the global economy has grown eight times since the 1950s (Perrings, this volume) has radically altered the course of biological invasions and other environmental problems.
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