Resource Details

A place for alien species in ecosystem restoration

Literature: Journal Articles

Ewel, J. and Putz, F.E. (2004), "A place for alien species in ecosystem restoration," Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2: 354–360.

Contact Info

Contributing author:


  • US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Suite 323, Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Department of Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611




  • The authors argue that blanket condemnation of alien species in restoration efforts is counterproductive, and in some cases such species can be tolerated or even advantageous.
  • Situations in which alien species might be appropriate are listed to include: nurse plants, seed recruitment (by attracting seed-dispersing animals), fuel for restoring fire-based systems, to hold sites against colonization of other unwanted plant species, biological control in trophic relationships, provision of surrogat resources, phytoremediation, and Biogeochemical services (such as nitrogen fixation).
  • In deciding whether to use alien species in restoration, one must evaluate the potential costs, benefits & risks, considering the extent to which current conditions deviate from the target ecosystem, posible ecological or economic benefits, all stakeholder perspectives,potential landscape-scale consequences,whether eradication efforts for a pre-existing exotic are warranted on ecological or ecomonic grounds, and if the use of a particular alien species is "reversible".

Geographical Region

  • General
  • Ecosystems

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