Palaeoecology to inform wetland conservation and management: some experiences and prospects

Stewart Clarke, Jasmyn LYNCH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Wetlands are an important social-ecological resource, being fundamentally important to many natural processes, human wellbeing and livelihoods. They also contain important stores of information in their sediments which are increasingly being used to improve conservation and environmental management outcomes. We describe how palaeoecology can inform understanding of longer-term processes in wetland environments and examples of where it has contributed directly to site-based conservation decisions for wetlands in the UK. Palaeoecological science is being used in partnerships between some scientists and wetland managers, yet there is scope for broadening its use to support more integrated, inclusive forms of management. We discuss this potential of palaeoecology to inform more holistic approaches to conservation through: landscape-scale conservation; a focus on ecosystem services and natural capital; and the interdisciplinary approach of social-ecological systems that frames conservation as being for 'people and nature'. Realising this potential requires enhanced communication and engagement between scientists and research users about palaeoecological data, their scope for application, and limitations. The need for climate change adaptation, the use of narratives about past environmental changes and future management scenarios, and the need for improved approaches to conservation provide opportunities for bridging the science-policy-practitioner gap and advancing wetland conservation and management. Journal compilation

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-706
Number of pages12
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2016


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