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Special Issue "Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Susan Cordell (Website)

USDA, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 60 Nowelo Street, Hilo, HI 96720, Hawaii, USA
Interests: ecophysiology; restoration ecology; functional ecology; tropical dry ecosystems; grass invasions; hawaiian ecosystems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Restoration Ecology is a relatively new field where concepts such as sustainability are mostly theoretically posed rather than quantitatively based. Traditional restoration science has been guided by successional theory towards a historic reference system.  However, restoration practice must adapt new strategies as many systems appear resilient to traditional restoration approaches. This special issue of Sustainability addresses this question: How do we move forward rather than backward towards ecosystem restoration for sustainability in today’s anthropogenically-influenced systems? Recent work in restoration practice confirms that a major conceptual restoration flaw is the assumption that terrestrial systems are orderly and static rather than dynamic. Hence current restoration success criteria perhaps are not in fact realistic or sustainable.  Furthermore, how do we incorporate future disturbance regimes into criterion for sustainability—be they natural or anthropogenic, small scale or large scale? This special issue will publish papers that address questions such as how do we define, promote, and evaluate science, practice, and policy-based sustainability success criteria into the field of restoration ecology? It is a goal of this special issue to publish papers that span restoration sustainability objectives that may range from mandated restoration (i.e., endangered species recovery), to reversing biodiversity loss, to the recovery of ecosystem function. In addition, this special issue aims to publish papers investigating these questions across trophic levels, geographic origins, disturbance regimes, and/or conflicting multi-use perspectives. Papers that evaluate progress and explore novel approaches towards the sustainability of restoration theory or practice are encouraged.

Dr. Susan Cordell
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • ecosystem sustainability
  • success criteria
  • novel approaches
  • traditional restoration
  • disturbance regimes

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Integrating Stakeholder Preferences and GIS-Based Multicriteria Analysis to Identify Forest Landscape Restoration Priorities
Sustainability 2014, 6(2), 935-951; doi:10.3390/su6020935
Received: 5 April 2013 / Revised: 25 January 2014 / Accepted: 11 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A pressing question that arises during the planning of an ecological restoration process is: where to restore first? Answering this question is a complex task; it requires a multidimensional approach to consider economic constrains and the preferences of stakeholders. Being the problem [...] Read more.
A pressing question that arises during the planning of an ecological restoration process is: where to restore first? Answering this question is a complex task; it requires a multidimensional approach to consider economic constrains and the preferences of stakeholders. Being the problem of spatial nature, it may be explored effectively through Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) performed in a Geographical Information System (GIS) environment. The proposed approach is based on the definition and weighting of multiple criteria for evaluating land suitability. An MCDA-based methodology was used to identify priority areas for Forest Landscape Restoration in the Upper Mixtec region, Oaxaca (Mexico), one of the most degraded areas of Latin America. Socioeconomic and environmental criteria were selected and evaluated. The opinions of four different stakeholder groups were considered: general public, academic, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governmental officers. The preferences of these groups were spatially modeled to identify their priorities. The final result was a map that identifies the most preferable sites for restoration, where resources and efforts should be concentrated. MCDA proved to be a very useful tool in collective planning, when alternative sites have to be identified and prioritized to guide the restoration work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
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Open AccessArticle Plant Species Restoration: Effects of Different Founding Patterns on Sustaining Future Population Size and Genetic Diversity
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1304-1316; doi:10.3390/su5031304
Received: 2 January 2013 / Revised: 1 March 2013 / Accepted: 1 March 2013 / Published: 20 March 2013
PDF Full-text (189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Efforts to sustain the earth’s biodiversity will include the establishment and manipulation of isolated rescue populations, derived either via in situ fragmentation, or under ex situ circumstances. For target species, especially those with limited propagation resources, major goals of such projects include [...] Read more.
Efforts to sustain the earth’s biodiversity will include the establishment and manipulation of isolated rescue populations, derived either via in situ fragmentation, or under ex situ circumstances. For target species, especially those with limited propagation resources, major goals of such projects include both the optimization of population size and the preservation of genetic diversity. Such rescue populations will be founded in a variety of ways, but little is known about how the geometric patterning of founders can affect population growth and genetic diversity retention. We have developed a computer program, NEWGARDEN, to investigate this issue for plant species that vary in life history characteristics. To use NEWGARDEN, input files are created that specify the size and structure of the preserve, the positioning and genetic diversity of the founders, and life history characteristics of the species (e.g., age-specific reproduction and mortality; gene dispersal distances; rates of selfing, etc.). The program conducts matings with consequent offspring establishment such that the virtual population develops through generations as constrained by the input. Output statistics allow comparisons of population development for populations that differ in one or more input conditions. Here, with NEWGARDEN analyses modeling a triennial species, we show that rescue population project managers will often have to carefully consider the geometric placement of founders to minimize effort expended while maximizing population growth and conservation of genetic diversity, such considerations being heavily dependent on the life history characteristics of particular species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
Open AccessArticle Restoring Native Forest Understory: The Influence of Ferns and Light in a Hawaiian Experiment
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1317-1339; doi:10.3390/su5031317
Received: 12 January 2013 / Revised: 7 February 2013 / Accepted: 15 February 2013 / Published: 20 March 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (889 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ecological restoration is an increasingly important component of sustainable land management. We explore potential facilitative relationships for enhancing the cost-effectiveness of restoring native forest understory, focusing on two factors: (1) overstory shade and (2) possible facilitation by a fern (Dryopteris wallichiana [...] Read more.
Ecological restoration is an increasingly important component of sustainable land management. We explore potential facilitative relationships for enhancing the cost-effectiveness of restoring native forest understory, focusing on two factors: (1) overstory shade and (2) possible facilitation by a fern (Dryopteris wallichiana), one of few native colonists of pasture in our montane Hawaiˈi study system. We planted 720 understory tree seedlings and over 4000 seeds of six species under six planting treatments: a full factorial combination of low, medium and high light, situating plantings in either the presence or absence of a mature fern. After three years, 75% of outplanted seedlings survived. Seedling survivorship was significantly higher in the presence of a fern (79% vs. 71% without a fern) and in medium and low light conditions (81% vs. 64% in high light). Relative height was highest at low to medium light levels. After 2.2 years, 2.8% of the planted seeds germinated. We observed no significant differences in seed germination relative to light level or fern presence. Analyzing several approaches, we found nursery germination of seeds followed by outplanting ca. 20% less costly than direct seeding in the field. This study opens new questions about facilitation mechanisms that have the potential to increase the extent and effectiveness of restoration efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
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Open AccessArticle Increasing Woody Species Diversity for Sustainable Limestone Quarry Reclamation in Canada
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1340-1355; doi:10.3390/su5031340
Received: 31 December 2012 / Revised: 17 February 2013 / Accepted: 21 February 2013 / Published: 20 March 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (136 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental sustainability of post mined limestone quarries often requires reclamation to a diverse woody plant community. Woody species diversity may be severely limited if only nursery stock is relied on for propagation material; thus other sources must be evaluated. To address woody [...] Read more.
Environmental sustainability of post mined limestone quarries often requires reclamation to a diverse woody plant community. Woody species diversity may be severely limited if only nursery stock is relied on for propagation material; thus other sources must be evaluated. To address woody species establishment and survival from different propagule sources at a limestone quarry in western Canada, native trees (4) and shrubs (3) were seeded and transplanted into amended substrates (wood shavings, clean fill, unamended control) in two seasons (spring, fall). Plant sources were nursery stock, local forest wildlings, seeds and forest soil (LFH mineral soil mix). Plant emergence, survival, height, health and browsing were evaluated over four years. Survival was greater with fall transplanted seedlings than with spring transplanted. Survival was greater for Picea glauca, Pseudotsuga menziesii and Populus tremuloides from nursery than local source stock. Seedlings from seeds and LFH did not survive for any of the species. Growth and survival were affected by bighorn sheep. Amendments did not improve plant establishment. Diversity of the woody plant community was increased at the quarry in spite of the severe conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
Open AccessArticle Bird Pollinator Visitation is Equivalent in Island and Plantation Planting Designs in Tropical Forest Restoration Sites
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 1177-1187; doi:10.3390/su5031177
Received: 20 January 2013 / Revised: 2 February 2013 / Accepted: 13 February 2013 / Published: 19 March 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Active restoration is one strategy to reverse tropical forest loss. Given the dynamic nature of climates, human populations, and other ecosystem components, the past practice of using historical reference sites as restoration targets is unlikely to result in self-sustaining ecosystems. Restoring sustainable [...] Read more.
Active restoration is one strategy to reverse tropical forest loss. Given the dynamic nature of climates, human populations, and other ecosystem components, the past practice of using historical reference sites as restoration targets is unlikely to result in self-sustaining ecosystems. Restoring sustainable ecological processes like pollination is a more feasible goal. We investigated how flower cover, planting design, and landscape forest cover influenced bird pollinator visits to Inga edulis trees in young restoration sites in Costa Rica. I. edulis trees were located in island plantings, where seedlings had been planted in patches, or in plantation plantings, where seedlings were planted to cover the restoration area. Sites were located in landscapes with scant (10–21%) or moderate (35–76%) forest cover. Trees with greater flower cover received more visits from pollinating birds; neither planting design nor landscape forest cover influenced the number of pollinator visits. Resident hummingbirds and a migratory bird species were the most frequent bird pollinators. Pollination in the early years following planting may not be as affected by details of restoration design as other ecological processes like seed dispersal. Future work to assess the quality of various pollinator species will be important in assessing this idea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
Open AccessArticle Landscape Evaluation for Restoration Planning on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, USA
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 805-840; doi:10.3390/su5030805
Received: 21 November 2012 / Revised: 5 February 2013 / Accepted: 8 February 2013 / Published: 25 February 2013
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (2879 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Land managers in the western US are beginning to understand that early 20th century forests displayed complex patterns of composition and structure at several different spatial scales, that there was interplay between patterns and processes within and across scales, and that these [...] Read more.
Land managers in the western US are beginning to understand that early 20th century forests displayed complex patterns of composition and structure at several different spatial scales, that there was interplay between patterns and processes within and across scales, and that these conditions have been radically altered by management. Further, they know that restoring integrity (see Definition of Terms) of these conditions has broad implications for the future sustainability (see Definition of Terms) of native species, ecosystem services, and ecological processes. Many are looking for methods to restore (see Definition of Terms) more natural landscape patterns of habitats and more naturally functioning disturbance regimes; all in the context of a warming climate. Attention is turning to evaluating whole landscapes at local and regional scales, deciphering recent changes in trajectories, and formulating landscape prescriptions that can restore ecological functionality and improve landscape resilience (see Definition of Terms). The business of landscape evaluation and developing landscape prescriptions is inherently complex, but with the advent of decision support systems, software applications are now available to conduct and document these evaluations. Here, we review several published landscape evaluation and planning applications designed with the Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS) software, and present an evaluation we developed in support of a landscape restoration project. We discuss the goals and design of the project, its methods and utilities, what worked well, what could be improved and related research opportunities. For readability and compactness, fine and broad-scale landscape evaluations that could be a part of multi-scale restoration planning, are not further developed here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
Open AccessArticle Pigs and Pollards: Medieval Insights for UK Wood Pasture Restoration
Sustainability 2013, 5(2), 387-399; doi:10.3390/su5020387
Received: 13 December 2012 / Revised: 14 January 2013 / Accepted: 21 January 2013 / Published: 29 January 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1699 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
English wood pastures have become a target for ecological restoration, including the restoration of pollarded trees and grazing animals, although pigs have not been frequently incorporated into wood pasture restoration schemes. Because wood pastures are cultural landscapes, created through the interaction of [...] Read more.
English wood pastures have become a target for ecological restoration, including the restoration of pollarded trees and grazing animals, although pigs have not been frequently incorporated into wood pasture restoration schemes. Because wood pastures are cultural landscapes, created through the interaction of natural processes and human practices, a historical perspective on wood pasture management practices has the potential to provide insights for modern restoration projects. Using a wide range of both written and artistic sources form the Middle Ages, this article argues that pigs were fed in wood pastures both during the mast season when acorns were available and at other times as grazing fields. Pollarded pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) likely dominated these sustainable cultural landscapes during the medieval period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
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Open AccessArticle Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) Removal in the Western United States: Multi-Site Findings and Considerations for Future Research
Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3346-3361; doi:10.3390/su4123346
Received: 3 September 2012 / Revised: 4 December 2012 / Accepted: 11 December 2012 / Published: 14 December 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (747 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive) is an introduced tree that has become one of the dominant species in many watersheds in the American West. Although it is a target of restoration efforts, very little is known about vegetation response after removal of this [...] Read more.
Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive) is an introduced tree that has become one of the dominant species in many watersheds in the American West. Although it is a target of restoration efforts, very little is known about vegetation response after removal of this exotic species. To address this gap we surveyed 25 sites in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana where E. angustifolia was removed. We collected information regarding plant cover and richness, climate, soil characteristics, management history, and geography. We analyzed these data using regression tree modeling. Our results indicate that moisture and temperature are key environmental factors relating to restoration success as measured by abundance of native cover; lower temperatures and greater availability of water were generally associated with more native cover. These results have important implications for selection of restoration sites, and for understanding the consequences of removing this species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
Open AccessArticle Talking Big: Lessons Learned from a 9000 Hectare Restoration in the Northern Tallgrass Prairie
Sustainability 2012, 4(11), 3066-3087; doi:10.3390/su4113066
Received: 28 August 2012 / Revised: 6 November 2012 / Accepted: 6 November 2012 / Published: 13 November 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1854 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Large tracts (>1000 ha) of prairie are essential to the sustainability of grassland ecosystem services, yet in many ecoregions only small fragments remain. Glacial Ridge is among the largest prairie-wetland restorations ever attempted. Started in 2000, the 9000 ha project in northwest [...] Read more.
Large tracts (>1000 ha) of prairie are essential to the sustainability of grassland ecosystem services, yet in many ecoregions only small fragments remain. Glacial Ridge is among the largest prairie-wetland restorations ever attempted. Started in 2000, the 9000 ha project in northwest Minnesota, USA, was initiated to reconnect 14 small tallgrass prairie remnants. In all, 15,200 ha of contiguous habitat comprise the project's direct accomplishment. We created a partnership of more than 30 organizations, filled 177 km of drainage ditch, restored 1240 ha of wetland, and replanted 8100 ha. Flooding has been mitigated, water quality improved, and native vegetation reestablished. Animals not documented for decades have again occupied the site. Despite these accomplishments, the project would have been unnecessary if the land had been purchased in the 1970s, prior to conversion to agriculture, at one-tenth the restoration cost. Our challenges related to funding, differences in partners' restoration philosophy, community concerns about floods and tax losses, difficulties in obtaining seed, and follow-up management of invasive weeds. We summarize the restoration process and share basic principles that will help others to develop large-scale prairie restoration projects in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)
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Open AccessArticle Riparian Forest Restoration: Conflicting Goals, Trade-Offs, and Measures of Success
Sustainability 2012, 4(9), 2334-2347; doi:10.3390/su4092334
Received: 29 June 2012 / Revised: 23 July 2012 / Accepted: 1 September 2012 / Published: 19 September 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (977 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Restoration projects can have varying goals, depending on the specific focus, rationale, and aims for restoration. When restoration projects use project-specific goals to define activities and gauge success without considering broader ecological context, determination of project implications and success can be confounding. [...] Read more.
Restoration projects can have varying goals, depending on the specific focus, rationale, and aims for restoration. When restoration projects use project-specific goals to define activities and gauge success without considering broader ecological context, determination of project implications and success can be confounding. We used case studies from the Middle Rio Grande (MRG), southwest USA, to demonstrate how restoration outcomes can rank inconsistently when narrowly-based goals are used. Resource managers have chosen MRG for restoration due to impacts to the natural flood regime, reduced native tree recruitment, and establishment of non-native plants. We show restoration “success” ranks differently based upon three goals: increasing biodiversity, increasing specific ecosystem functions, or restoring native communities. We monitored 12 restored and control sites for seven years. Treatments ranked higher in reducing exotic woody populations, and increasing proportions of native plants and groundwater salvage, but generally worse at removing fuels, and increasing species and habitat structural diversity. Managers cannot rely on the term “restoration” to sufficiently describe a project’s aim. Specific desired outcomes must be defined and monitored. Long-term planning should include flexibility to incorporate provisions for adaptive management to refine treatments to avoid unintended ecological consequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration)

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