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Restoration success: how is it being measured?

Literature: Journal Articles

Ruiz‐Jaen, Maria C., & T. Mitchell Aide. 2005 "Restoration success: how is it being measured?" Restoration Ecology vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 569-577.

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Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico–Rio Piedras, P.O. Box 23360, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-3360


Restoration Ecology

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  • This review examines the practice of measuring ecological restoration success. The Society for Ecological Restoration primer lists 9 ecosystem attributes as a guideline for measuring ecosystem success: 1) similar diversity and community structure; 2) presence of indigenous species; 3) presence of functional groups necessary for long term survival; 4) capacity to sustain reproducing populations 5) normal functioning; 6) integration with the landscape; 7) elimination of potential threats; 8) resilience; 9) self sustainability.
  • Most studies, the researchers find, assess basically three ecosystem attributes: 1) diversity (richness, abundance, functional groups); 2) structure (cover, plant density, biomass); and 3) ecological processes (nutrient cycling, interactions).
  • This study analyzed 468 articles addressing restoration, but only 68 of these evaluated restoration success after seeding or planting, and less than 1/5 was located in the tropics. Most review studies were done to comply with environmental laws in the US and Europe.
  • Most evaluation studies involved measurements of diversity (of one or multiple taxa) and of vegetation structure. Fewer studies examined ecological processes, partially because they are slower to recover- most of these looked at presence of mycorrhizae. Most studies compared the restoration sites to reference sites.

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