Resource Database

©Danilo Lima, Agripalm Ambiental

The RRC database contains a wide variety of resources and publications related to ecological restoration, and we are actively working to expand this collection. It is our aim to serve as the principal clearinghouse for information and tools to support the work of researchers, practitioners, land managers, educators, students, and anyone else interested in restoration. Use the filter tool below to search the database by title, author, resource type, keyword, or any combination of these factors.

Although SER does review all entries in the database for relevance and quality, these resources have not been rigorously reviewed or extensively vetted in every case, and SER therefore makes no claim as to their accuracy or accordance with generally accepted principles in the field. The database is provided as a resource for visitors to the SER website, and it is ultimately left to the individual user to make their own determinations about the quality and veracity of a given publication or resource.

If there is a resource we missed, please let us know! We are interested in current books, articles, technical documents, videos, and other resources that are directly relevant to ecological restoration science, practice or policy, as well as resources treating the social, cultural and economic dimensions of restoration.

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906 matching resources found.

Global Arid Zone Project – Progress in global dryland restoration

Abstract:

Drylands are some of the most difficult areas to restore, but paradoxically have only seen a small fraction of terrestrial ecology (6%) and restoration (<5%) studies. The Global Arid Zone Project, first conceived in 2018 and launched later that year, is aimed at building a continuously growing restoration tool that collates existing data into a usable data center. By compiling a unique global database on dryland ecosystem restoration, we hope to provide the ability to explore drivers of restoration success at an unprecedented scale. Here, we present the first analysis of the database. Our results were assembled from datasets across 174 sites on six continents, encompassing 594,065 observations of 671 plant species. Findings provide reason for optimism. Seeding in drylands had a clear positive impact on the presence of plant species. However, dryland restoration is also a risky proposition: 17% of the projects completely failed, with no establishment of any seeded species, and consistent declines were found in seeded species as projects matured. We also focus in on North American drylands, assessing changes in success through time, evolutions in seed mix design, and overarching patterns of native versus exotic seed success.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Scaling Up Ecologically Appropriate Seed Supply in Canada: How the National Tree Seed Centre Can Help

Abstract:

The National Tree Seed Centre (NTSC) is Canada’s only national seed bank conserving the genetic diversity of temperate and boreal forest species. Since 1967, the NTSC has curated a living library for the global research community, with over 18,000 unique collections of 120 native woody species, detailed by collection coordinates. This diverse collection is available to anyone researching any aspect of ecology, biochemistry, breeding, genomics, restoration, reclamation, climate change or for educational purposes. Seed collections to protect and study herbaceous plant species at risk are also underway with First Nations, Parks Canada, NGOs and jurisdictional governments.

In this virtual workshop, NTSC staff will lead a tour of the seed bank, tissue culture and cryogenic facilities in Fredericton, New Brunswick. We will demonstrate the core collection activities, seed quality control, standard and exploratory testing, and 50 years of seed trait data available for restoration planning. Federal collaborators will present related research from the fields of genomics, Species at Risk recovery, and climate-based seed transfer.

The NTSC will engage SER2021 participants to help overcome challenges related to seed supply and conservation in Canada, before cumulative stressors accelerate. Key questions include “How can NTSC support your projects and supply chain of native plant materials?”, “How do we encourage policies requiring appropriate seed outside of industrial forestry?”, and “What Canadian species need a seed based action plan now?”. Workshop polling and post-conference surveys will harness the power of this conference to improve seed-based restoration outcomes in all temperate forest biomes.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Drawing restoration goals from the bottom-up: Assessing local interest in ecosystem services

Abstract:

Successfully achieving our urgent and ambitious global restoration goals will depend on how well communities embrace restoration programs at a local scale. Restoration initiatives are frequently implemented using top-down decision-making strategies where non-local organizations determine the goals and expected restoration outcomes on the ground, which can result in conflicting expectations among stakeholders. But empowering local communities in restoration planning can enhance the success of restoration initiatives over the long-term. This study aimed to assess local interest in enhancing ecosystem services associated with forest restoration in landscapes of varying degrees of degradation, as a means to promote inclusive, diverse and ethical restoration planning. We used an interdisciplinary mixed-methods approach to collect and assess both quantitative and qualitative data. We facilitated focus group interviews and community mapping activities using satellite imagery for 26groups of local community members in 14 rural districts in the Ecuadorian Andes and Amazon in 2019. Our results show that community members are more interested in enhancing regulating ecosystem services (45%) than cultural (30%) or provisioning (25%) services. Interest in ecosystem services depended on local need (e.g., landslide mitigation, water supply) and the degree of landscape degradation. Locals living in landscapes with higher degradation preferred a higher number and diversity of ecosystem services compared to locals in less degraded landscapes. Learning about the local needs, interests, and landscape conditions can help restoration practitioners to support the design of restoration initiatives that empower locals to guarantee the persistence of restored areas for the achievement of the restoration goals.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Seed morphometrics as a tool to site-specific seed sourcing for population reinforcement

Abstract:

Seed-based ecological restoration requires a careful selection of the source genetic material when aiming at the conservation of an evolutionarily significant unit or a strict endemic species. The Mediterranean basin is a biodiversity hotspot, characterised by high endemism shaped by the history of the climatic events. Plant population restoration requires specific considerations when it comes to seed sourcing. Morphological description of a discriminant feature is the most commonly used taxonomic criteria, however, multivariate morphometrics detect intraspecific morphological variations. Phenotype characterisation provides an accessible argument in seed sourcing prior to site restoration.

Mericarps of the strict endemic Ferula melitensis (Brullo et al., 2018) were collected from three different sites in the Maltese Islands and subjected to multivariate morphometrics based on ImageJ analysis. The shape of the mericarps has an important taxonomic role for this genus, and elongation variability in the characteristic oblong shape of the mericarp is found to be the main discriminant feature between populations (Figure 1), highlighting the morphological variability of this species at small geographical scale.

These results complete the recent morphological and genetic analysis of Ferula melitensis, which have established it as a distinct species from the more widespread Ferula communis. Consideration of the phenotype of the target species is crucial for population reinforcement, and the implementation of this standardised methodology using open-access software (ImageJ, Particles8) ensures both replicability and application to a wide range of species. The results provide a crucial tool for the improvement of sourcing site-specific seed material for native population reinforcement.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

In search of disturbed lands: a community science approach for landscape level restoration priority setting and planning

Abstract:

Amid a crisis of biodiversity loss and estimates of degraded lands between 1–7B ha, ecological restoration is seen as an important pathway to restore and sustain biodiversity, ecosystem services, and related benefits. However, many managers lack the tools they need to systematically and comprehensively identify disturbed sites to prioritize restoration efforts given limited resources. We developed a novel, inexpensive, low-tech approach for training and engaging citizen scientists to identify areas in need of restoration within a defined area. The mapping process follows four phases: 1) Landscape scans by volunteers using Google Earth Pro (GE) imagery; 2) A second scan of all detected disturbances based on high resolution aerial photography; 3) Compilation of basic information about the degraded sites; 4) Addition of associated plant communities. We detected 67 new sites not previously identified by managers using an estimated 220 volunteer hours and only 20 staff hours. Each site has accompanying information including distance from nearest access point, cause of disturbance, and plant and soils detail. After completion, we conducted independent field visits of 33% of the detected sites and verified disturbance in all cases. We found that the remotely sensed approach provided better perspective to accurately measure the scale and original source of disturbance compared with field visits. The approach can be conducted over a relatively short period of time, using multiple volunteers, and allows managers to undertake landscape level restoration prioritization and planning and, if repeated, it can be used to monitor changes in degradation over time.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Seed viability, germination, and early survival of Spartina alterniflora from the Bay of Fundy and Northumberland Strait for salt marsh restoration

Abstract:

Along the east coasts of North America, the saltwater cordgrass Spartina alterniflora is the bioengineer species of salt marshes, and essential for salt marsh restoration. However, at north temperate latitudes, little is known about its reproductive biology. Our research objective is to determine and compare seed viability, germination success and early seedling survival for different populations of S. alterniflora (both phenotypes: short and tall forms) in Maritime Canada. Specifically, we had short-form and tall-form S. alterniflora locations for each of 4 replicate salt marshes in each of the Bay of Fundy (macrotidal environment) and Northumberland Strait (microtidal environment). In September-October 2020, we collected ripe seeds (i.e., caryopsis) from each location once our shake test showed ~10 felled seeds. Seeds were stored for cold stratification, submerged in freshwater and 40 ppt saltwater at 4o C for ~12 wk. Following this, seed viability tested using tetrazolium chloride (TTC) was ~35–55%. Germination, under recommended diurnal thermoperiod conditions and scored using appearance of embryonic shoot (epicotyl) and root, was on average 35±1% after 2 wks and 45±2% after 1 mo (±SE, n=252 batches), with higher germination following freshwater (41–50% after 2 wks) than saltwater (22–26%) storage. Further, germination patterns were similar for short-form and tall-form phenotypes, but more variable and somewhat lower in the Northumberland Strait than in Bay of Fundy. Growth and survival of seedlings are being quantified in the greenhouse under three watering treatments: 0 ppt, 10 ppt, and incremental increases of 5 ppt/wk starting at 10 ppt, until full strength seawater is reached. Current average seedling survival after 8 wks in the greenhouse is 50.1%. Future plans include evaluating performance of seedling during outplanting in summer 2021. This research will contribute to creating a guide for salt marsh restoration and creation for Maritime Canada, by evaluating the strategy of using S. alterniflora seedlings.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Science Based? Yes, but Ecological Restoration is also all about Compromise

Abstract:

When planning projects, ecological restoration practitioners aim for the gold standard based on the best available science. In many instances, however, we are confronted with a barrage of challenges including, but not limited to, conflicting interest groups, competing habitat interests, scope/budget challenges, regulatory barriers, funder priorities, historical relationships and public distrust. These challenges often require adjustment to the scientific method and ultimately alter the end project – it
all boils down to compromise. In academia, as in our careers, we are trained to focus on science-based procedures that lead to predictable outcomes. As a practitioner with over 10 years of experience I have learned that ecological restoration, while science-based, is much more complex when put into practice. The soft skills required to manage these projects are just as valuable as the science itself. This presentation will explore the complexities of restoration projects, with an emphasis on stream restoration in highly altered, heavily used locations with sensitive habitats in regulated environments. I will reference Southern Ontario case studies, emphasizing the importance of honest communication, ongoing engagement and tactful negotiation to fulfill project goals and satisfy the needs of diverse parties. Establishing a culture where compromise is accepted, and even encouraged, is crucial for creating successful, resilient projects that have long lasting benefits within an entire community.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Seeds of Success: Cultivating 20 Years of Plant Conservation

Abstract:

Seeds of Success (SOS) is a national native seed collection program in the US, led by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Agricultural Research Service and many non-federal partners. SOS is the first step in the native plant materials development process to increase the quality and quantity of native seed available for restoring and supporting resilient ecosystems. SOS collections of wildland native seed are used for seed research and development such as germination trials, common garden studies, and protocol establishment. Additional uses include germplasm conservation, seed production, and ecosystem restoration. Portions of each collection are also held in long-term storage facilities for conservation.

SOS was established in 2001 by the BLM and includes many partners, such as botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, and municipalities. All SOS teams share a common protocol to coordinate seed collecting and species targeting efforts.

To date, SOS has made more than 26,000 native seed collections comprising 5,800 unique taxa from 43 states across the US. In 2015, BLM received a $3.5 million mitigation award because of Hurricane Sandy to collect seed in coastal habitats from Virginia to Maine. Current SOS priorities include ecoregional programs in the Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and Mojave Desert. Efforts are also underway to expand partnerships in the Southeastern U.S. to preserve the incredible plant biodiversity of the region.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Structured decision-making for Maritime Live Oak forest restoration

Abstract:

Maritime Live Oak (Quercus virginiana; MLO) forests along the Georgia (U.S.A.) coast are highly regarded for their multiple natural and cultural heritage values. In recent decades, MLO forests have shown evidence of limited live oak recruitment, which may result in undesired long-term effects on tree community structure, function, and resilience. Many MLO forest stewards and scientists share a common interest in conserving forests by planting live oaks to augment existing populations. But there is uncertainty regarding potential restoration strategies because knowledge about MLO ecosystem dynamics is limited and fragmented among stakeholders. We used structured decision-making to collaboratively develop a decision-support tool for live oak tree-planting strategies. First, we held workshops with MLO forest stewards to identify: the managers’ long-term objectives and shorter-term success indicators; spatial and temporal scales of likely management actions; a set of potential management options; and data, legal, and resource constraints. Then we constructed a transition matrix model using empirical data and expert knowledge to estimate parameters for juvenile tree growth and survival rates associated with alternative treeplanting strategies. The decision support tool incorporated the transition model and associated cost estimates of management alternatives in order to project likely outcomes, costs, associated uncertainties, and the degree to which alternatives would meet different management objectives. This process ensured that we capitalized on diverse understandings and perspectives and that the decision support tool would be directly relevant to stewards’ values, objectives, and information needs.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Soil stoichiometric characteristics of intact, drained and restored wetlands

Abstract:

The stoichiometric relationships between organic carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are important features of the functioning of wetlands. We conducted a synthesis of the C:N:P stoichiometry of soils in intact, drained and restored wetlands from literature and Canadian wetlands. Soil C:N ratio in freshwater marsh soils remains surprisingly constrained within a range of 10 to 30:1. Drainage and restoration show no significant effects on soil C:N ratio compared to intact wetlands, suggesting that C and N are lost and regained proportionally. Yet, soil C: P and N:P ratios are significantly smaller in drained and restored sites than intact wetlands, mainly induced by the decrease of C and N after drainage, instead of an enrichment of P. P concentrations are not consistent under any certain land management in our study and show very site-dependent, probably relevant to the soil texture, Al3+ and Fe3+ concentration and the parent material at different sites. Our results show that soil C:P and N:P ratios are positively related to soil C concentration (R2 = 0.86 and 0.79, respectively; both p < 0.001), suggesting the overriding control of soil OC on determining the soil stoichiometric characteristics in freshwater marshes.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Spatial planning for restoring populations of marine vertebrates and their habitats: A challenging management task

Abstract:

Integral ecosystem restoration actions must consider restoring fauna populations and their associated critical habitats. A unified ecosystem restoration demands the development of complementary and integral approaches to restore all seascapes’ elements, instead of working from narrow taxonomic perspectives.

Marine vertebrate populations are elements of high ecological and economical relevance for their ecosystems, such as in the Gulf of Mexico where multiple nations share marine resources. International treaties and national laws protect several of these species and foster the identification of their critical habitats for restoring their populations. Habitat suitability analysis and niche modelling is used to identify those critical habitats for management and restoring purposes.

We assessed the habitat suitability of the Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), and shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) in the Gulf of Mexico, to identify overlapping areas of their high-suitability habitats to be proposed for special management and protection to restore their populations.

We used a Hutchinsonian approach for niche modelling, based on their occurrence records. Their distribution was associated to particular ocean conditions, and all models were statically significant (>0.7 AUC). We delimited highly suitable zones for them and defined their potential distribution polygons to propose strategic areas for management and restoration (wildlife refuge and no-take zones), according to Mexican legislation. The identification of the critical habitats for these species contributes with basic information for marine spatial management implementation and promotes ecosystem restoration strategies for species of high ecological and economical interest.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Tools for developing trajectory-based goal structure for restoration planning

Abstract:

The US National Park Service (NPS) has long endorsed the concept of trajectory-based restoration strategies. However, with many of its larger projects, descriptions of biological community response, once geomorphology and hydrology of a site was corrected, were vague at best. More complex projects and global change agents make it much less certain that this approach will help managers avoid the increasing likelihood of systems moving towards undesirable states. Data-driven tools and products can be coupled with adaptive management, scenario planning and bet-hedging frameworks to help practitioners develop alternative trajectory-based goals and objectives. We will review applications of the National Vegetation Classification System, Rosgen’s Stream Classification and LANDFIRE Successional Models with biodiversity databases to several NPS projects in process and additional modeling tools to support restoration planning for potential projects. Even in retrospective analyses, efforts to incorporate concepts related to system stability, assembly rules filters and emerging climate barriers are challenging to incorporate in a standardized planning framework. We will present these issues in the context of several examples including stream systems and tallgrass prairie degraded from excessive grazing; contaminated, denuded hillslopes; fire-excluded ecotones; and agriculture to meadow transitions.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Species diversity induces idiosyncratic effects on litter decomposition in a degraded meadow steppe

Abstract:

Background & objectives: Litter decomposition is a fundamental path for nutrient cycling in a natural ecosystem. However, it remains unclear how species diversity, including richness and evenness, affects the decomposition dynamics in the context of grassland degradation.

Methods: Using a litter bag technique, we investigated the litter-mixing effects of two co-existing dominant species (Leymus chinensis Lc and Phragmites australis Pa), as monocultures and mixtures with evenness (Lc:Pa) from M1 (30:70%), M2 (50:50%), and M3 (70:30%), on decomposition processes over time (60 and 365 days). The litter bags were placed on the soil surface along a degradation gradient (near-pristine (NP), lightly degraded (LD), and highly degraded (HD)).

Results & conclusion: We found that (1) mass loss in mixture compositions was significantly and positively correlated with initial nitrogen (N) and cellulose contents; (2) litter mixing (richness and evenness) influenced decomposition dynamics individually and in interaction with the incubation days and the degradation gradients; (3) in GLM, non-additive antagonistic effects were more prominent than additive or neutral effects in final litter and nutrients except for carbon (C); (4) in nutrients (C, N, lignin) and C/N ratio, additive effects shifted to non-additive with incubation time. We speculated that the occurrence of non-additive positive or negative effects varied with litter and nutrients mass remaining in each degraded gradient under the mechanism of initial litter quality of monoculture species, soil properties of experimental sites, and incubation time. Our study has important implications for grassland improvement and protection by considering species biodiversity richness, as well as species evenness.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Community dynamics during salt marsh restoration over 10 years in a megatidal, ice-influenced environment

Abstract:

Salt marshes are vital ecosystems that provide coastal protection, carbon sequestration, and habitat for many species. Global salt marsh loss has been extensive; in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, an estimated 30,500 ha of salt marsh has been lost since European colonization. There is growing interest in salt marsh restoration to access valuable ecosystem services in an era of climate change and sea level rise. We monitored two managed realignment salt marsh restoration sites and two established salt marsh reference sites for sediment deposition and community dynamics from one year pre-breach to ten years post-breach to better understand successional trajectories in the upper Bay of Fundy. This study was the first of its kind in Maritime Canada and the first managed realignment in an ice-influenced and megatidal (tidal amplitude ~14 m) region. To date, we have identified four successional stages of salt marsh restoration: (1) deposition of unconsolidated sediment (>50 cm in some locations) and loss of terrestrial vegetation, (2) colonization and spread of Spartina alterniflora and loss of surviving S. pectinata (brackish vegetation), (3) homogenization of S. alterniflora cover, and (4) colonization and spread of high marsh vegetation in restoration sites. We expect the invertebrate community on the emergent marsh and in salt pools in the restoration sites to become more like the reference salt marsh community as plant zonation becomes more distinct. Successes and lessons
learned from our project are guiding additional restoration projects in the Bay of Fundy, a region with high potential for salt marsh restoration.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Stream-bank Restoration: New York Native Grasses, Sedges and Forbs in Gravel

Abstract:

Background: A failing 1990’s flood control structure along Fall Creek, a protected waterway, designed to preserve the integrity of the intact flood plain forest, and unique 8-acre natural area, needed attention to prevent its collapse. This historic natural area managed by Cornell Botanic Gardens and used by elementary through graduate students to study native plants, offered an opportunity to demonstrate a novel stream-bank restoration.

Objectives: The objectives were to stabilize the stream-bank and restore the site with drought tolerant herbaceous native plants capable of establishing and thriving in gravel: grasses, sedges, and forbs; to be a model for future habitat restoration; to be a teaching tool for classes; and to appeal aesthetically to students and visitors.

Methods: Working with Cornell University’s Environmental Engineering team, a gabion basket structure was modified, anchored, and fitted with additional drainage. The Natural Areas staff botanist, staff gardener and Finger lakes Native Plant Society steering committee member developed a restoration plan and a design for seeding and planting the site using locally sourced gravel and regionally sourced seeds.

Results: The stabilization of the new structure, with a rapidly thriving, drought tolerant native plant community representing both common and rare species of the New York flora, is aesthetically appealing to landscape architects, students, and visitors.

Conclusion: Within three years, an established community of plants has developed; site stabilization has been fully achieved; seedling recruitment is annually occurring; and aesthetic criteria have been met, demonstrating the positive impact of a created, functioning landscape.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Do predators have a role to play in wetland restoration? An experimental study in New England coastal salt marshes

Abstract:

Traditional approaches to wetland restoration often emphasize reestablishing native vegetation and engineering the correct hydrology along with other environmental features, thereby setting the stage for nature to do the rest. With this bottom-up focus, the biotic diversity of wetlands and their related trophic interactions are treated as measures of restoration success rather than factors that may influence it. However, recent studies have shown that the loss of predators in coastal salt marshes can lead to significant reduction of wetland extent due to overgrazing by herbivores. Such studies indicate that consumers may play a much larger role in the maintenance of wetland ecosystems than was previously thought. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate whether altering top-down control by manipulating the presence of predators can lead to measurable changes in salt marsh ecosystem properties. Between May and August of 2015 and 2016, we established exclosure and enclosure cages within three coastal wetlands and manipulated the presence of green crab predators to assess how consumers affect changes in ecosystem functions. Predator presence was associated with changes in aboveground biomass and the rate of soil nitrogen absorption at one study site, while changes in other ecosystem processes were largely driven by bottom-up factors. These results challenge the recent consensus that consumers have strong effects, instead indicating that predator effects may instead be context-dependent and therefore may not be required for improved restoration outcomes.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

The fate of biological soil crusts after fire: A meta-analysis

Abstract:

Fire is a global disturbance that is predicted to increase in frequency and severity in many parts of the world due to climate change. Biological soil crust (biocrust) communities are often overlooked in fire studies despite having a substantial effect on ecological function and the adjacent communities. The goal of this study is to synthesize and analyze existing data elucidating the recovery of biocrust cover following fire at the global-scale and suggest avenues for future research and restoration. We performed a meta-analysis of studies from 1984 to 2019 to address the response of biocrust after fire and determine the moderating factors governing their response. Overall, fire reduced biocrust cover by 50% and had a significantly negative effect on biocrusts classified as cyanobacteria or algal dominated. Additionally, as time since fire increased, total biocrust cover increased but this response was modulated by biocrust type indicating compliance with traditional biocrust successional models. However, there was significant unexplained heterogeneity within the meta-analysis. This reflects a critical need for more studies specifically addressing the effect of fire on biocrust communities as they are an ecosystem engineer in drylands around the world. We suggest more thorough characterization of biocrust organisms through field and laboratory studies to understand the mechanisms of biocrust response to fire. Additionally, research is needed across a broader geographic range to represent the known distribution of biocrust communities, particularly as fires increase in severity and scope.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Monitoring and Assessment of Valued Ecosystem Components (VEC) in a Constructed Juncus-dominated Salt Marsh on the Northern Gulf of Mexico

Abstract:

Monotypic stands of Juncus roemerianus dominate the marshes of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, but few studies to date have examined the effects of restoration efforts on faunal inhabitants of these marsh ecosystems. This study examined environmental characteristics, faunal community structure, and trophic support in two restored marshes (5+ yrs and 15+ yrs) and a natural reference marsh (100+ yrs). Microbial diversity assessment in fall 2016 discovered that plants from the restored and reference areas supported similar microbial diversity indicating the rapid colonization of planted grasses with indigenous soil microbiota. Sampling in Spring and Fall 2017 through 2019 assessed the vascular plant community diversity and biomass, as well as relating these parameters to geomorphological characteristics of the area by measuring elevation and soil condition. The two constructed sites were found to have a diverse array of vegetation, but function of the salt marsh in terms of root production and sediment organic carbon deposition remained underdeveloped when compared to the natural reference site. Sampling targeted invertebrate abundances along the transects, which found to be were significantly higher in the natural marsh. Nekton abundance, species richness, and Simpson’s index of diversity varied by site and season. Stable isotope analysis provided additional insight into carbon sources and how energy is transferred through consumers in the restored marshes compared to the natural marsh. To survey breeding marsh birds, we utilized a standardized avian point count methodology to determine occupancy rates and species abundance for restored and natural tidal marsh sites. Construction of the sites with a fully enclosed berm and higher elevation than the natural reference marsh appears to have long-lasting consequences on restoration succession in a number of ecosystem structural and functional metrics.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

The Ontario Tree Atlas Project: Using participatory science to map the occurrence of over 100 tree species in Ontario, Canada

Abstract:

The Ontario Tree Atlas Project began in 1994 in an effort to document, for the first time, the distribution and abundance of the major tree species in Ontario, Canada. At the time of the projects’ inception and still today, the distribution and abundance of Ontario’s trees had never been comprehensively determined, and the species range maps used in books and guides remain largely generalized. Throughout the data collection phase of the project, from 1995 to 2006, over 1,300 volunteers contributed 63,000 observations of species abundance, generating valuable information for the conservation and management of Ontario’s trees. As we reach twenty-five years since the project began, the Tree Atlas data can now serve as a historical point-in-time estimate of species occurrence. Pre-dating the advent of popular online participatory science platforms such as iNaturalist and others, the observations offer a comparison for how species occurrences have been altered by three decades of environmental change. Data from the Tree Atlas was shared publicly for the first time in 2021 through the publication of the Ontario Tree Atlas and will ultimately be made available through an online interactive mapping platform.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Pilot salt marsh restoration techniques in New York City, USA: managing ecosystem recovery in an ultra-urban coastal context

Abstract:

Salt marshes are some of New York City’s (NYC) most valuable ecosystems. They are threatened by erosion and rising sea levels. NYC Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) is piloting innovative techniques to restore these critical ecosystems. NYC, in the northeastern United States (US), has over 8,000,000 human residents, 8,000 hectares of natural areas, and thousands of species of native plants and wildlife. Today, less than 10% of the historic extent of NYC’s salt marsh remains—about 1,600 hectares. To combat this loss, NYC Parks is piloting restoration of eroding coastal wetlands and planning for salt marsh migration. At Alley Creek, Queens, we piloted clean sand placement in the marsh interior and are designing a living shoreline. We will also conduct thin-layer sediment placement at Idlewild, Queens and Four Sparrow, Brooklyn, to increase marsh surface elevation and restore habitat for nesting birds. Finally, we have mapped areas that are likely to be flooded under sea level rise and identified locations throughout NYC to protect and create pathways for marsh migration. With funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency, we will develop monitoring protocols to evaluate the efficacy of these pilot projects and assess the conditions of migration zones. Using SER’s International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration, we will establish target attributes for ecological restoration and conduct annual monitoring to assess their recovery. Successes and lessons learned from these projects have broad application to practitioners conducting salt marsh restoration in ultra-urban coastal areas.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

The Restoration and Forestry Observatory – A platform to monitor restoration in Brazil

Abstract:

The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration represents a great opportunity for job creation, food and water security, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. The goal of the decade is to restore 170 million hectares over the world. Brazil has committed to restore 12 million hectares by 2030.

Leaded by the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture, a movement that encompasses several important stakeholders on agribusiness sector and civil society organizations in the environmental area in Brazil, the Restoration and Forestry Observatory was developed to monitor and measure the progress of restored land in all 6 Brazilian biomes by allowing users to consult and account areas under restoration for different geographies, providing transparency and reliability to monitor the committed goals.

The compiled dataset compass three main types of information: restoration projects sites, naturally restored vegetation based on satellite imagery and forestry. The source of information varies widely from public, private or ONG sector, and scales (local, regional and national), nevertheless this effort aimed to provide information of most successful restoration techniques, passive or active, and to support public managers to design strategies for large scale forest restoration and forestry.

Despite of several challenges to develop the Observatory, such as data availability and accessibility, data integration at multiple-scales and different mapping sources, the Observatory will provide more completely understanding of restoration dynamics for different territories, also by providing visibility to the restoration projects and its organizations and it may induce appropriate environment to create new coalitions on the restoration agenda.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Plant-Soil Carbon Responses to a Thin Layer Placement Experiment in a Southern New England Salt Marsh (USA)

Abstract:

Thin Layer Placement (TLP) of sediment is an increasingly used restoration method in coastal marshes to stimulate plant productivity, subsequently promoting soil accretion and resilience to accelerated sea level rise. However, few experimental field studies have investigated using dredge material for TLP in meso-tidal estuaries, and none holistically examine plant-soil carbon dynamics. Our goal was to investigate the biological and biogeochemical responses of applying dredge material for restoration of a coastal salt marsh in Connecticut, USA. Our objectives were to determine how application of varying levels of sediment affect: (1) above and belowground biomass allocation of Spartina alterniflora, and (2) soil carbon cycling processes including decomposition and carbon mineralization. We used an in situ experiment to manipulate soil surface elevation (low: +5cm, medium: +10cm, and high: +15cm). We monitored plant traits (above and belowground biomass, stem height, stem density, leaf area) and soil parameters (EC, pH, redox, NH4 +, sulfides, C:N, carbon mineralization, decomposition, bulk density). Preliminary analyses suggest low and medium treatments increased stem heights, but reduced stem density compared to controls. No stems grew in the high treatment but had similar root biomass in the medium treatments. These results demonstrate the ability of roots to penetrate the thickest sediment and may lead to increased belowground contributions and marsh resilience. Results from ongoing soil carbon analyses will elucidate relationships between sediment application, plant growth, and carbon cycling dynamics. Collectively, our work will guide wetland managers develop restoration specifications for protecting coastal marshes in the face of rising seas.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Tropical dry forest seedling growth and survivorship depends upon fertilization and irrigation

Abstract:

Tropical dry forests are critically endangered, as 97% of their area is threatened by human disturbances. Thus, countries like Colombia have prioritize its restoration establishing an ambitious project to restore 12,000 hectares of dry forest. Previous initiatives using passive restoration methods in this area were unsuccessful due to lack of precipitation, and soil nutrient depletion. That is why this project employs active interventions including large-scale planting of seedlings and management using fertilizers and irrigation. To test the efficacy of these practices we established a large-scale experiment in south-western Colombia on abandoned pastures to determine 1) if fertilizer application and irrigation increase seedling survivorship and growth and 2) if phosphorus is the only nutrient limiting plant growth. We also evaluated the costs of these practices. We planted 11,382 seedlings of 11 native species coupled with six treatments: 50g complete fertilizer+water, 25g complete fertilizer+water, phosphorus+water, 50g complete fertilizer-water, water, and a control. Survival and growth were measured seasonally over 1.5 years. Survivorship after 1.5 years ranged from 45%–97% among species. Treatments that lacked supplemental water experienced higher initial mortality, however, after 1.5 years no differences among treatments were found. Plants that received any complete fertilizer treatment had the highest growth rates, suggesting that phosphorus is not the only limiting nutrient. Our data show that water is key for early seedling establishment and fertilization with multiple nutrients increases seedling growth more than watering after seedling established. Importantly, high rates of fertilizer application had no additional benefit to growth compared to low doses.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Planting the marsh: Comparing methods of planting at recovering salt marsh restoration sites in the Bay of Fundy

Abstract:

Salt marshes provide many important ecosystem services, including coastal protection, and interest in restoring these systems is growing in the face of climate change. In Atlantic Canada, salt marsh restoration has focused on restoring tidal flow, without planting vegetation. Over time, these sites can show persistent deficits in vegetation diversity. We evaluated five methods of planting (plugs, field transplants, seed, wrack, tilling) eight native species (Carex paleacea, Juncus gerardii, Limonium carolinianum, Plantago maritima, Poa palustris, Solidago sempervirens, Sporobolus alterniflorus and Sporobolus michauxianus) at two Bay of Fundy salt marsh restoration sites to test their ability to accelerate plant recovery. Community structure and planting performance (growth rate, summer and winter survival, health) were monitored over two years. Planting plugs produced the highest abundance of perennial halophytes over both years and plantings had high survival rates (76.4 % ± 0.02 SE) while plants transplanted from adjacent sites had higher mortality and slightly lower abundance. All planted
species survived and grew. Growth rate, health, and winter survival were all more strongly related to site than planting treatment, indicating that location was more important than planting method. We found evidence that differences in elevation, inundation, soil salinity and soil nutrients at each site may explain these differences in performance. Planting plugs and field transplants may both be useful for restoration in the future and mixing methods to capitalize on respective strengths may produce best results when planting. Our results also highlight the need to tailor planting plans to individual sites as plantings may respond differently in different situations.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Use of native pine species to recover degraded areas and increase their resilience in the Cointzio micro-watershed of the Municipality of Morelia Michoacán, Mexico

Abstract:

In the Cointzio micro-basin, the loss of forest cover has caused soil erosion, and silting of the Cointzio dam. The vegetation of the micro-basin favors water infiltration, which provides an important input of water to the city of Morelia. Thus, it is essential to carry out soil recovery actions through the introduction of native species.

The objective of the work was to evaluate the development of different pine species introduced in degraded areas, to avoid soil loss and to afford the ecosystem resilience.

In the community of El Escobal, the introduction of 250 one-year-old plants of P. pseudostrobus, P. oaxacana and P. patula was carried out by random planting in an area of gullies of 40 X 40 m. and one with secondary vegetation of 40 X 40 m. To relate the growth and survival of the seedlings, microclimate features were determined.

After eight months, the survival was 54%, being taller in the secondary vegetation (73%) and lower in gullies (27%). Height growth was higher in the gullies area and lower in the secondary vegetation area without significant differences, diameter growth was higher in secondary vegetation and lower in gullies with significant differences. Features of soil indicated differences in pH, organic material, soil moisture and, differences between nutrients phosphorous, calcium and magnesium concentrations. The difference in photosynthetically active radiation was consistent with the orientation and with the presence of plant cover of each area. Our results suggest the best species to recover degraded areas in this ecosystems, was P. pseudostrobus.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Applying an animal-centric approach to restoration for wildlife

Abstract:

Habitat loss and fragmentation are leading causes of biodiversity decline. To restore landscapes that support native animals requires moving beyond the traditional focus on vegetation to grounding restoration activities in mechanistic knowledge of the local and landscape elements that different species require. We developed an animal-centric approach to ecological restoration and applied this to native mammals and birds in the Tasmanian Midlands, Australia’s oldest and most fragmented European agricultural region. Greening Australia is planting biodiversity corridors, connecting and restoring woodland across the region. We used species-appropriate technologies to assess the decisions made by individual animals to find food and shelter and to disperse across this fragmented landscape, and linked these, together with patterns of occupancy, across multiple spatial and temporal scales. We focussed on a native (Spotted-tailed Quoll Dasyurus maculatus) and an invasive (Feral Cat Felis catus) carnivore, a woodland-specialist herbivore (Eastern Bettong Bettongia gaimardi), microbats and woodland birds including the native-invasive Noisy Miner. Our results, which show intense predatory and competitive pressure of Feral Cats and Noisy Miners on native fauna, demonstrate the significance of structural complexity of restored vegetation for supporting the recolonisation and persistence of native fauna and evoke innovative approaches in plantings and artificial refuges to reduce habitat suitability for Noisy Miners and predatory impacts of Feral Cats. At large landscape-scale, we demonstrate the importance of retaining small habitat elements, including ancient paddock trees, pivot irrigation corners and small, degraded remnants, in facilitating occupancy and dispersal and therefore persistence of wild animals across this agricultural region.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Community bird changes due to ecological restoration of terrestrial areas on an Andean periurban wetland (Bogotá, Colombia)

Abstract:

The native ecosystems of the Bogotá plateau have been transformed as a consequence of the dynamics of occupation, finding today remnants of wetlands with bird species in a serious threat of extinction. In response to those changes, ecological restoration research line of Bogotá Botanical Garden establishes the Pilot Area of Research on La Florida Regional Park. An area of high importance for bird conservation, and an opportunity to propose birds as indicator of the restoration success. The park has six land covers, including two covers with around ten years of restoration process, two without restoration (a mixed forest plantation and a recreational zone), one of a natural wetland habitat and a lake. The areas in restoration process was established using implantation designs with native plants. The success of the vegetation process was measured using the variables as: survival, composition and structure that could explain changes on bird communities produced by the restoration, serving as a comparative framework. In total, 170 species were recorded throughout the park, including species of conservation importance. The greatest changes are observed in the covers under restoration in which there is a significant increase on bird diversity that can be explained by structural variables of vegetation such as growth habits, strata and in general understory features. Similarly, changes were found in the cover without restoration, in which has a similar structure to the coverage under restoration, but with less diversity of plant and bird species. Those results highlight the importance of bird monitoring in ecological restoration processes, and also highlighting compositional and structural variables that can boost an increase in bird diversity.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Using Floating Treatment Wetlands to Remove Nutrients and Restore Meadow Marsh Habitats in Wetland Systems in the northeastern United States

Abstract:

A significant threat that watersheds face is nutrient pollution, particularly excess phosphorus in freshwater systems. Floating treatment wetlands (FTWs) can remove excess phosphorus by plant and microbial uptake directly in the water column. We examined phosphorus removal rates in a mesocosm setting using different combinations of four wetland plant species native to northeastern North America; Carex stricta (tussock sedge), Iris versicolor (northern blue flag), Juncus effusus (common rush), and Eleocharis palustris (common spikerush), two different substrate conditions; no substrate and coconut coir, and a control with no plants or substrate. Each substrate was paired with three different plant combinations, tussock species (Carex stricta and Iris versicolor), reed species (Juncus effusus and Eleocharis palustris), and a mixture. We determined the total phosphorus and orthophosphate removal rates along with changes over time in chlorophyll-a, phycocyanin, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity, and pH. Based on our results from week 1 and week 7 of this 9-week experiment, we found that tussock species with coconut peat substrate had the highest mean total phosphorus removal percentage at 76%. All three plant combinations with coconut peat substrate had mean removal percentages greater than 70%, while only one plant combination with no substrate had removal percentages over 70%. The treatment with the lowest total phosphorus removal percentage was the control at 55% removal. Future directions of this study include a field application of FTWs to determine nitrogen and phosphorus removal rates in aquaculture ponds, and testing the efficacy of transplanting FTW plants into wetlands to extend their lifecycle.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Evaluation of ecological restoration through mammal monitoring in a lava field of Mexico City

Abstract:

The Pedregal de San Ángel Ecological Reserve (REPSA) has been affected by substrate destruction, introduction of invasive plant species, the presence of domestic rodents and feral fauna. Several patches have been subjected to rescue of basaltic substrate and mechanical subtraction of exotic plants, like Eucalyptus spp. To evaluate the degree of recovery, we compare mammalian communities associated to sites subjected to 11-13 years of ecological restoration and conserved areas. Sherman traps were placed during the dry and rainy seasons. Density of cottontail rabbits was determined through the density of their fecal pellets; other mammals were registered through excreta and sightings. In the sites under restoration, six species of native mammals were recorded: Peromyscus gratus, P. melanophrys, Otospermophilus variegatus, Didelphis virginiana, Bassariscus astutus and Sylvilagus floridanus; and three exotic mammals: gray squirrels, cats and dogs. All sites were shelter for native mammals. Peromyscus gratus was recorded in all sites, and they depend on the lava-field ecosystem but, as a generalist mouse, it is a useful indicator at the first stages of restoration. Exotic rodents were no longer found in the sites subjected to restoration, and their absence could be a good restoration progress indicator because their populations have decreased without direct control. It was found that the basaltic substrate addition strategy to improve plant community might affect the P. gratus and S. floridanus activity. Considering mammals since planning is important, because focusing on the plant community strategies might not generate a suitable habitat for mammals.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Using Google Earth for Planning, implementation and monitoring of invasive species management as a part of restoration initiative in and around Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, India

Abstract:

Junglescapes, a non-profit based in Bangalore is carrying out ecological restoration in a Tiger landscape of southern India since the last 12 years. A key aspect of the project involves management of Lantana camara over a large heterogeneous area of over 8000 ha. A mapping using GIS tools to detect relative abundance of Lantana camara helped prioritize areas for management. However, management of invasive species requires micro-level planning and implementation considering the topography, presence of native vegetation and secondary invasive species, etc.  Lantana management demands a high level of customized treatment and rigour which is difficult to achieve in larger plot sizes. These were aspects aimed to be addressed by this methodology.

Land parcels of approximately 100 acres were selected using Google Earth in the priority areas. These were further divided into 10 to 12 acre grids. The grid map (polygons) and coordinates of the polygon corners were shared as KML / KMZ files and transferred to handheld GPS device. These grids were surveyed physically for documenting baseline conditions. This real time data in combination with photographs and Google image were used for developing the treatment plan for each grid. Use of Google Earth image with survey waypoints and photograph enabled virtual tour of the site which enabled coordination with field managers working on site. Post-implementation monitoring, resurgence of native vegetation and habitat use by fauna also were plotted in the Google Earth image, which provides an insight to the ecological role of the restored area as a wildlife life habitat in the larger context.

Resource Type:Conference Presentation, SER2021
Publication Date: 2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program