Two new articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discuss whether management can push forests and other ecosystems into ‘landscape traps’ which may be difficult to restore to former conditions. The ‘landscape trap’ concept resembles previous research on alternate stable ecosystem states, but recognizes the importance of spatial dynamics in maintaining a landscape in a degraded state. A paper by Lindenmayer and colleagues describes such a landscape trap in mountain ash forests of Australia, while a commentary by Franklin and Johnson discuss whether the concept of landscape traps can be applied to the Douglas fir forests of the Pacific Northwest.
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