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Gregory E. Eckert, Patrick Comer, Patrick McIntyre
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.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program