Special Issue of AMBIO Science Journal Features Dr. Tom Thornton of UAS
Dr. Tom Thornton has been featured in a recent special issue of the science journal AMBIO. This publication is dedicated to the emerging field of Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change.
Date of Press Release: January 30, 2020
Dr. Tom Thornton has been featured in a recent special issue of the science journal AMBIO. This publication is dedicated to the emerging field of Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change, a science-policy issue which Thornton has been exploring with others at the University of Oxford and the Centre for Biocultural Diversity (CBCD) at the University of Kent since 2011. Thornton is the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), and also serves as the Vice Provost for Research and Special Programs.
Edited by Patricia Howard, Greta Pecl, Raj Puri and Thornton, this volume features ten articles that report on the development of concepts, methods and policy tools to investigate a largely overlooked area of research on the dynamics of biocultural diversity in relation to climate change impacts. The research also includes drivers of biodiversity change like invasive species, habitat loss, over-exploitation, and pollution.
The project was originally funded by the UK Research Councils (ESPA-NERC), and a symposium panel sponsored by the CBCD at the UK Royal Anthropological Institute’s 2016 Conference on Anthropology, Weather and Climate Change.
Thornton has two papers in the publication, both of which are available through the AMBIO journal website:
- Human adaptation to biodiversity change: An adaptation process approach applied to a case study from southern India (lead author)
- Using traditional ecological knowledge to understand and adapt to climate and biodiversity change on the Pacific coast of North America (co-author)
Thornton remarked, “While a lot of attention is given to disastrous climate change impacts on human communities like flooding, drought, and erosion, less attention has been paid to human adaptation to changes in biodiversity that may accompany shifts in particular ecological and cultural regions. This special issue is meant to address this gap by focusing on adaptation to biodiversity changes that are already affecting communities here in Southeast Alaska and elsewhere in the world. People tend to respond to those species which are the most important their culture and livelihoods, but may also adapt quickly to the presence of new species.”
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