Restoration for resilience

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Lindsey Gillson

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Landscapes change over time in response to multiple interacting drivers, including climate, disturbance, and land-use, which all leave a lasting legacy on ecosystem structure and function. In this review I explore the utilisation of long-term data in restoration ecology, under two main themes: 1)   Our perceptions of landscape change are influenced by the timescales of observation. The same change in vegetation cover may elicit different restoration responses, depending on the history of the landscape. Therefore, long-term data is essential to contextualise recent changes and plan appropriate restoration responses. 2)   As the dynamic nature of ecosystems is increasingly recognised, there is an accompanying paradigm shift in the ecological restoration community to move from strategies that promote restoration to a prior condition to restoration of process and function. Furthermore, restoring a former ecosystem state may not always be possible or desirable as we approach no analogue conditions, where some ecosystems are showing evidence of new stable states outside of the historic range of variability. Rather than recreating prior reference conditions, in these cases, restoration may focus on restoring ecological processes that support resilience, specifically resistance, recovery, and re-organisation. Long-term data can assist in understanding these processes that form a sound basis for the restoration of resilience. For these reasons, there is a natural synergy between restoration ecology, long-term ecology and palaeoecology that warrants further exploration and the development of new collaborations.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration