Restoration of Terrestrial Communities

Abstract

Restoration aims to return ecosystems that have been altered by humans to states similar to unaltered systems in terms of dominant vegetation, energy flows, water capture and nutrient cycling. General themes in restoration include the degree of alteration, setting goals for the restoration, incorporating evaluation of progress, and methods for ameliorating soil and returning vegetation. A major challenge in many systems is creating vegetation with desirable species composition and richness, as opposed to low‚Äźdiversity stands of exotic species. Socioeconomic factors may have overriding influences on restoration strategies. Opportunities for advancement include replication of restorations among years to incorporate variation in weather, and reporting of more outcomes, including negative results. Restoration is a field ripe for research, both in the synthesis of applied knowledge and as a system for experimentally addressing a broad variety of ecological topics.

Key Concepts

  • Restoration aims to return ecosystems that have been altered by humans to states similar to unaltered systems, typically enhancing both biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Goals for restoration should be specified during the planning phase. The goal for restoration is primarily a socioeconomic question, dependent on community wishes and available resources.
  • Economic benefits from restoration are tangible but limited, so other benefits must be clear.
  • Restoration using exotic species is common, because of increased demand for ecosystem services and increased ubiquity of exotic species.
  • Exotic species can rapidly produce novel stable communities. Consequently, the endpoint of one restoration (an exotic, economically productive community) may be the starting point of another restoration to eliminate these species and restore native communities and enhance diversity.
  • Mine spoils may require chemical amelioration to reduce acidity or heavy metals. Soil organic matter often needs to be increased on severely altered sites, but in other cases needs to be decreased.
  • Propagules of desired species usually need to be added, as seeds, transplants, turves or hay.
  • Continuing evaluation and management is often required to aid succession in moving towards the goals.

Keywords: disturbance; ecosystem; restoration; soil; vegetation

Figure 1. An abandoned field (dark green) planted with an exotic grass, Agropyron cristatum (crested wheatgrass), in southwestern Saskatchewan, Canada. The field is surrounded by native grassland (light brown) and lies within a national park. The field has been restored for economic productivity but has low diversity and plant and animal communities that differ greatly from native vegetation.
close

References

Almendro‐Candel M, Navarro‐Pedreño J, Jordán M, et al. (2014) Use of municipal solid waste compost to reclaim limestone quarries mine spoils as soil amendments: effects on Cd and Ni. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 144: 363–366.

Aradóttir ÁL, Petursdottir T, Halldorsson G, et al. (2013) Drivers of ecological restoration: lessons from a century of restoration in Iceland. Ecology and Society 18: 33.

Aschenbach TA and Poling M (2015) Initial plant growth in sand mine spoil amended with organic materials. Ecological Restoration 33: 197–206.

Baer SG, Gibson DJ, Gustafson DJ, et al. (2014) No effect of seed source on multiple aspects of ecosystem functioning during ecological restoration: cultivars compared to local ecotypes of dominant grasses. Evolutionary Applications 7: 323–335.

Balogianni VG, Wilson SD, Farrell RE, et al. (2015) Rapid root decomposition decouples root length from increased soil C following grassland invasion. Ecosystems 18: 1307–1318.

Brudvig LA (2011) The restoration of biodiversity: where has research been and where does it need to go? American Journal of Botany 98: 549–558.

Carter DL and Blair JM (2012) High richness and dense seeding enhance grassland restoration establishment but have little effect on drought response. Ecological Applications 22: 1308–1319.

Chiquoine LP, Abella SR and Bowker MA (2016) Rapidly restoring biological soil crusts and ecosystem functions in a severely disturbed desert ecosystem. Ecological Applications 26: 1260–1272.

Cleland EE, Larios L and Suding KN (2013) Strengthening invasion filters to reassemble native plant communities: soil resources and phenological overlap. Restoration Ecology 21: 390–398.

Clewell AF and Aronson J (2013) Ecological Restoration: Principles, Values, and Structure of an Emerging Profession. Washington: Island Press.

Corbin JD and Holl KD (2012) Applied nucleation as a forest restoration strategy. Forest Ecology and Management 265: 37–46.

Davis MA, Chew MK, Hobbs RJ, et al. (2011) Don't judge species on their origins. Nature 474: 153–154.

Dickens SJM, Mangla S, Preston KL, et al. (2016) Embracing variability: environmental dependence and plant community context in ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology 24: 119–127.

Drayton B and Primack RB (2012) Success rates for reintroductions of eight perennial plant species after 15 years. Restoration Ecology 20: 299–303.

Grman E, Bassett T and Brudvig LA (2013) Confronting contingency in restoration: management and site history determine outcomes of assembling prairies, but site characteristics and landscape context have little effect. Journal of Applied Ecology 50: 1234–1243.

Grman E, Bassett T, Zirbel CR, et al. (2015) Dispersal and establishment filters influence the assembly of restored prairie plant communities. Restoration Ecology 23: 892–899.

Hagen D, Hansen T‐I, Graae BJ, et al. (2014) To seed or not to seed in alpine restoration: introduced grass species outcompete rather than facilitate native species. Ecological Engineering 64: 255–261.

Hallett LM, Diver S, Eitzel MV, et al. (2013) Do we practice what we preach? Goal setting for ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology 21: 312–319.

Hobbs RJ (2012) Old Fields: Dynamics and Restoration of Abandoned Farmland. Washington: Island Press.

Josa R, Jorba M and Vallejo VR (2012) Opencast mine restoration in a Mediterranean semi‐arid environment: failure of some common practices. Ecological Engineering 42: 183–191.

Kardol P and Wardle DA (2010) How understanding aboveground–belowground linkages can assist restoration ecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 25: 670–679.

Krautzer B and Wittmann H (2006) Restoration of alpine ecosystems. In: Van Andel J and Aronson J (eds) Restoration Ecology, The New Frontier, pp. 208–220. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Larson DL, Bright J, Drobney P, et al. (2011) Effects of planting method and seed mix richness on the early stages of tallgrass prairie restoration. Biological Conservation 144: 3127–3139.

MacDougall AS, Wilson SD and Bakker JD (2008) Climate variability alters the outcome of long‐term community assembly. Journal of Ecology 96: 346–354.

Marrs RH (2002) Manipulating the chemical environment of the soil. In: Perrow MR and Davy AJ (eds) Handbook of Ecological Restoration. Volume 1. Principles of Restoration, pp. 155–183. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mendola ML, Baer SG, Johnson LC, et al. (2015) The role of ecotypic variation and the environment on biomass and nitrogen in a dominant prairie grass. Ecology 96: 2433–2445.

Morris EC and de Barse M (2013) Carbon, fire and seed addition favour native over exotic species in a grassy woodland. Austral Ecology 38: 413–426.

Nilsson C, Aradottir AL, Hagen D, et al. (2016) Evaluating the process of ecological restoration. Ecology and Society 21 (1): 41.

Norland J, Larson T, Dixon C, et al. (2015) Outcomes of past grassland reconstructions in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota: analysis of practices. Ecological Restoration 33: 408–417.

Nunez‐Mir GC, Iannone BV III, Curtis K, et al. (2015) Evaluating the evolution of forest restoration research in a changing world: a “big literature” review. New Forests 46: 669–682.

Perkins LB and Hatfield G (2015) Can commercial soil microbial treatments remediate plant–soil feedbacks to improve restoration seedling performance? Restoration Ecology 24: 194–201.

Perry LG, Blumenthal DM, Monaco TA, et al. (2010) Immobilizing nitrogen to control plant invasion. Oecologia 163: 13–24.

Prevéy JS, Knochel DG and Seastedt TR (2014) Mowing reduces exotic annual grasses but increases exotic forbs in a semiarid grassland. Restoration Ecology 22: 774–781.

Prober SM, Byrne M, McLean EH, et al. (2015) Climate‐adjusted provenancing: a strategy for climate‐resilient ecological restoration. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3: 65.

Pywell RF, Bullock JM, Roy DB, et al. (2003) Plant traits as predictors of performance in ecological restoration. Journal of Appled Ecology 40: 65–77.

Radtke TM and Wilson SD (2015) A limited role for apparent competition via granivory in the persistence of a grassland invader. Journal of Vegetation Science 26: 995–1004.

SER (2004) The SER International Primer on Ecological Restoration. USA: Society for Ecological Restoration International Science & Policy Working Group.

Sheoran V, Sheoran A and Poonia P (2010) Soil reclamation of abandoned mine land by revegetation: a review. International Journal of Soil, Sediment and Water 3: 13.

Stanley AG, Kaye TN and Dunwiddie PW (2011) Multiple treatment combinations and seed addition increase abundance and diversity of native plants in Pacific Northwest prairies. Ecological Restoration 29: 35–44.

Suding KN (2011) Toward an era of restoration in ecology: successes, failures, and opportunities ahead. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 42: 465.

Umbanhowar CE (2014) Charles A. Geyer Agricultural Botanical Survey of 1838–1839: a comparison of the composition of Minnesota prairies then and now. Ecological Restoration 32: 16–27.

Vaughn KJ and Young TP (2010) Contingent conclusions: year of initiation influences ecological field experiments, but temporal replication is rare. Restoration Ecology 18: 59–64.

Wagner M, Bullock JM, Hulmes L, et al. (2016) Creation of micro‐topographic features: a new tool for introducing specialist species of calcareous grassland to restored sites? Applied Vegetation Science 19: 89–100.

Whisenant SG (1999) Repairing Damaged Wildlands. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Willis JM and Hester MW (2015) Evaluating postharvest sugarcane residue amendment and broadcast fertilizer application as techniques to enhance dune grass establishment and expansion. Ecological Restoration 33: 190–196.

Wilsey BJ (2010) Productivity and subordinate species response to dominant grass species and seed source during restoration. Restoration Ecology 18: 628–637.

Wilson SD and Pinno BD (2013) Environmentally‐contingent behaviour of invasive plants as drivers or passengers. Oikos 122: 129–135.

Wilson SD (2015) Managing contingency in semiarid grassland restoration through repeated planting. Restoration Ecology 23: 385–392.

Yurkonis KA and McKenna TP (2014) Aggregating species at seeding may increase initial diversity during grassland reconstruction. Ecological Restoration 32: 275–281.

Zhu H, Fu B, Wang S, et al. (2015) Reducing soil erosion by improving community functional diversity in semi‐arid grasslands. Journal of Applied Ecology 52: 1063–1072.

Further Reading

Bainbridge DA (2012) A Guide for Desert and Dryland Restoration: New Hope for Arid Lands. Washington: Island press.

Comín FA (2010) Ecological Restoration: A Global Challenge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Doyle M and Drew C (2012) Large‐Scale Ecosystem Restoration: Five Case Studies from the United States. Washington: Island Press.

Elliot S, Blakesley D and Hardwick K (2013) Restoring Tropical Forests: A Practical Guide. Surrey: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Falk DA, Palmer MA and Zedler JB (2013) Foundations of Restoration Ecology. Washington: Island Press.

Glass SB, Howell EA and Harrington JA (2011) Introduction to Restoration Ecology. Washington: Island Press.

Keenelyside K, Dudley N, Cairns S, et al. (2012) Ecological Restoration for Protected Areas: Principles, Guidelines and Best Practices. Switzerland: IUCN.

Maginnis S, Rietbergen‐McCracken J and Sarre A (2012) The Forest Landscape Restoration Handbook. London: Routledge.

Maschinski J and Haskins KE (2012) Plant Reintroduction in a Changing Climate: Promises and Perils. Washington: Island Press.

Van Andel J and Aronson J (2012) Restoration Ecology: The New Frontier. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Wilson, Scott D(Aug 2016) Restoration of Terrestrial Communities. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020469.pub2]