Using ecological resilience concepts to prioritize restoration efforts and determine effective strategies

Jeanne Chambers

Publication Date:

In an era of rapid global change, it is increasingly important to target restoration efforts where they are most likely to have ecological and socio-economic benefits and to use strategies that optimize success. Application of ecological resilience concepts provides the basis for locating and implementing restoration actions to enhance the ability of ecosystems to cope with stressors and disturbances over time. Scaling up to the landscape provides the necessary perspective of how ecosystem attributes and processes interact with landscape characteristics to influence the capacity of ecosystems to support resources and habitats and effects of disturbances. Here, we discuss developing an understanding of how resilience differs across landscapes to create resilience-based frameworks and decision-tools to inform restoration policies, goals, and actions. Knowledge of general resilience, the broad ability of ecosystems to maintain fundamental processes and functioning following disturbances, can be used to assess relative ecosystem recovery potentials and risks of crossing critical thresholds. Information on spatial resilience, or how spatial attributes, processes, and feedbacks vary over space and time in response to disturbances to affect resilience, provides the basis for evaluating spatial constraints on ecosystem recovery and resource and habitat availability to support biodiversity. Coupling information on general and spatial resilience, the predominant disturbances, and capacity to support resources and habitats provides the basis for prioritizing management actions and determining effective strategies. Spatially explicit approaches and decision matrices allow managers to quantify and visualize differences in resilience in relation to focal resources and predominant disturbances and to make informed restoration decisions.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration