The Prince Edward Islands in a global context
The original publication is available from AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, Stellenbosch: South Africa.
CITATION: Chown, S. L. & Froneman, P. W. 2008. The Prince Edward Islands in a global context, in S. L. Chown & P. W. Froneman (eds). The Prince Edward Islands: Land-Sea Interactions in a Changing Ecosystem. Stellenbosch: AFRICAN SUN MeDIA. 1-16. doi:10.18820/9781928357063/01.
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The history of the planet is one of change. Continental positions have moved, sea-levels have advanced and retreated, mountains have been formed and eroded, climates have varied from warm to cool and back again, and life has responded to and sometimes driven these processes, with species and higher taxa waxing and waning for the last several billion years (Stanley 1989; Behrensmeyer et al. 1992). More recently, humans have come to influence these changes. Our recent history has been one of significant effects on the abiotic environment, including elevation of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, depletion of stratospheric ozone, and alterations to the global climate (Watson 2002; Domack et al. 2005). In turn, changing climates have had and continue to have profound effects on biodiversity, ranging from population and species loss (Pounds et al. 2006) to alterations in species distributions, changes in phenology, and shifts in ecological regimes (Walther et al. 2002; Parmesan & Yohe 2003; Root et al. 2003).