Restoration ecology
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Restoration Ecology. Key terms. Intervention Mitigation Reallocation Reclamation Re-creation Rehabilitation Remediation Restoration. Characteristics of Species Prone To Extinction. The 6 th Mass Extinction. Estimate: 50,000 species per year

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Restoration Ecology

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Restoration ecology

Restoration Ecology

Key terms

Key terms

  • Intervention

  • Mitigation

  • Reallocation

  • Reclamation

  • Re-creation

  • Rehabilitation

  • Remediation

  • Restoration

Characteristics of species prone to extinction

Characteristics of Species Prone To Extinction

The 6 th mass extinction

The 6th Mass Extinction

  • Estimate: 50,000 species per year

  • Global declines in genetic diversity of wildlife seen; leads to inbreeding depression

  • Global declines in genetic diversity of crops/livestock

  • Global declines in species diversity

  • Global declines in ecosystem function

The 6 th mass extinction1

The 6th Mass Extinction

Causes of declining biodiversity

Causes of Declining Biodiversity

  • Loss of Habitat

  • Alien species (non-native/exotic) if they spread rapidly, → Invasive

  • Population

  • Pollution

  • Climate change

  • Overharvesting



Invasive species

Invasive Species





Climate change

Climate Change



Helping nature heal

Helping Nature Heal

  • Humans have disturbed and degraded nature for as long as we have existed

  • We are able to repair some of the damage (ecological restoration)

  • Recovery: linked to the idea “natural climax community will return if we leave it alone”

  • Modern Ecology: this may not be the case (random process)

Helping nature heal1

Helping Nature Heal

  • Aims of restoration driven by human values (beauty, recreation, utility) rather than science

  • General principles of restoration are drawn from ecology, hydrology, soil science, etc.

  • Most influential American forester: Gifford Pinchot*

  • Another pioneer: Aldo Leopold

Gifford pinchot

Gifford Pinchot

  • Introduced selective harvest and replanting of choice tree species

  • This increased the value of the forest

  • Also produced a sustainable harvest

  • First head of U.S. Forest Service

Habitat destruction

Habitat Destruction

  • Deforestation is the greatest eliminator of species,) followed by coral reefs & wetlands

  • Fragmentation (roads, logging, agriculture)

  • Increase vulnerability

  • Changes migratory patterns (buildings, etc.)

  • Case Study: Birds as indicators (p 195 – 197)

Invasive species1

Invasive Species

Invasive species2

Invasive Species

Conservation of biodiversity focusing on species

Conservation of biodiversity focusing on species

Laws and treaties

Laws and Treaties

  • Lacey Act, 1900; many amendments; forbids interstate trade of illegally harvested plants and animals

  • Convention on International Trade in endangered Species (CITES), 1975; 175 countries

  • Marine Mammal Protection Act, 1972

Laws and treaties1

Laws and Treaties

  • Endangered Species Act, 1973; amended in ‘82, ‘85, ‘88

  • ESA implements CITES agreement

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service is main overseer

  • Controversial at times; spotted owl v. logging in NW US during 1990s

Laws and treaties2

Laws and Treaties

Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)

  • Conserve biodiversity

  • Sustainably use biodiversity

  • Share the benefits that emerge (ex – pharma-ceuticals)

Other methods

Other Methods

  • Wildlife refuges

  • Gene/seed banks

  • Botanical gardens

  • Wildlife farms

  • Zoos and aquariums

Nature can be resilient

Nature Can Be Resilient

  • First step in restoration: stop whatever is causing the damage

  • Ex. – prohibiting logging, mining, etc., may be enough to allow nature to heal by itself

  • Sometimes rebuilding populations of native plants and animals is a simple process of restocking breeding individuals to an area

Video focus questions forest fires

Video Focus Questions: Forest Fires

  • Climate impact on frequency, intensity of fires

  • Human impact on frequency, intensity of fires

  • Natural recovery from fires

  • Restoration efforts

  • Importance of forests

Conservation of biodiversity focusing on ecosystems

Conservation of biodiversity focusing on ecosystems

Forest restoration

Forest Restoration

  • Lumber companies routinely replant forests that they have harvested

  • Mechanical restoration results in a monoculture of uniformly placed trees

  • Japan was almost completely deforested at the end of WWII, now more than 60% is forested

  • Today: Largest reforestation in China; 50 billion trees have been planted over the past 50 years

Forest restoration1

Forest Restoration

  • Urban planting important

  • 2007: UN announced “billion tree campaign”

  • Historically, fire has been important in controlling vegetation in savannas

  • Settlers eliminated fire and grazing by native animals → shrub and tree growth

  • Accumulated veg. is cleared before fires are started; herbicides prevent re-growth

Forest restoration2

Forest Restoration

  • Sequoia National Park: 70 years of fire suppression → dense undergrowth → more fuel for destructive fires

Prairie restoration

Prairie Restoration

  • Before European settlement, prairies covered most of the middle U.S.

  • Tall-grass: eastern edge of the Great Plains. Less than 2% remains

  • Fire is also crucial for prairie restoration; kills many weedy species and removes nutrients (esp. N)

  • The Nature Conservancy has established many preserves to protect tallgrass prairies

Prairie restoration1

Prairie Restoration

  • Huge areas of short-grass prairie are being preserved

  • Bison help maintain prairies; with fire, an important tool in restoration

Wetland and stream restoration

Wetland and Stream Restoration

  • Wetlands occupy < 5% of US land; 1/3 of all endangered species spend at least part of their lives in wetlands

  • Until recently governments encouraged drainage for development

  • 1972 Clean Water Act began protecting streams and wetlands by requiring discharge permits for dumping waste into sfc waters

Wetland and stream restoration1

Wetland and Stream Restoration

  • For wetlands, sometimes all that’s needed is to stop destructive forces

  • The Everglades is a fresh water river that comes from springs that has been diverted, causing 90% of wading birds to be lost

  • It is hoped that by restoring the former flow will allow the biological community to recover

Wetland and stream restoration2

Wetland and Stream Restoration

  • The Chesapeake Bay is a drowned river valley with fresh and salty water mixing

  • Overfishing, sewerage discharge, silt, heavy metals, toxic chemicals from industry and agriculture, oil spills and habitat destruction are causing a loss of productive fisheries

  • Restoration = minimal success

Wetland and stream restoration3

Wetland and Stream Restoration

  • Cities: artificial wetlands provide a low-cost way to filter sewerage

  • Stabilizing stream banks, stopping pollution, controlling invasive species, preventing erosion are restoring streams

  • Remediation means finding remedies from problems involving noninvasive techniques

  • Reclamation implies using intense physical or chemical methods to repair ecosystems

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