Ecological Society of America Conference
Extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, fires and storms, are exacerbated by human activities and challenge populations, communities and ecosystems, as well as our human health and living conditions. The ability of ecosystems to respond to these challenges depends on the integrity of resilience mechanisms that have been severely undermined by land-use practices that increase effects of extreme conditions. Past civilizations, such as the Maya and Mesopotamians, apparently exacerbated the droughts (that caused their demise) through deforestation and agricultural practices similar to our own. Clearly, the sustainability of ecosystem services and human well-being depends on ecosystem resilience to extreme events.