Author: Melissa Gaskill
Source: Culture Map Austin 
August 21, 2012
"Good news: Some ecological damage is reversible. Removing large fish from coral reef ecosystems can eventually kill it, but protect a reef from fishing, and it can bounce back. Stop cutting down trees, and a forest may recover.
Climate change, on the other hand, can cause irreversible damage, says Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative ecology at University of California-Berkeley. For example, an increasingly acidic ocean will not only kill coral, but it will keep the coral from coming back; and changes in the life cycle of pests (a likely consequence of climate change) can prevent a forest from regrowing.
The rate of species loss on earth today is at least three to 12 times higher than it has been for millions of years, Barnosky says. “What’s special about today is more change within a short time. Throughout earth’s history, we have been within a 10 degree C fluctuation,” or within 20 or so degrees Fahrenheit."
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