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Many ecosystems are rapidly being transformed into new, non-historical configurations
owing to a variety of local and global changes. We discuss how new systems can arise
in the face of primarily biotic change (extinction and/or invasion), primarily abiotic
change (e.g. land use or climate change) and a combination of both. Some changes will
result in hybrid systems retaining some original characteristics as well as novel
elements, whereas larger changes will result in novel systems, which comprise different
species, interactions and functions. We suggest that these novel systems will require
significant revision of conservation and restoration norms and practices away from
the traditional place-based focus on existing or historical assemblages.