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Integrating trait-based empirical and modeling research to improve ecological restoration.

Authors
  • Fiedler, Sebastian1, 2
  • Perring, Michael P3, 4
  • Tietjen, Britta1, 2
  • 1 Biodiversity/Theoretical Ecology Institute of Biology Freie Universität Berlin Berlin Germany. , (Germany)
  • 2 Berlin-Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research (BBIB) Berlin Germany. , (Germany)
  • 3 Forest and Nature Lab Ghent University Gontrode-Melle Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 4 Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology Research Group School of Biological Sciences The University of Western Australia Crawley WA Australia. , (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ecology and Evolution
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2018
Volume
8
Issue
12
Pages
6369–6380
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4043
PMID: 29988431
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

A global ecological restoration agenda has led to ambitious programs in environmental policy to mitigate declines in biodiversity and ecosystem services. Current restoration programs can incompletely return desired ecosystem service levels, while resilience of restored ecosystems to future threats is unknown. It is therefore essential to advance understanding and better utilize knowledge from ecological literature in restoration approaches. We identified an incomplete linkage between global change ecology, ecosystem function research, and restoration ecology. This gap impedes a full understanding of the interactive effects of changing environmental factors on the long-term provision of ecosystem functions and a quantification of trade-offs and synergies among multiple services. Approaches that account for the effects of multiple changing factors on the composition of plant traits and their direct and indirect impact on the provision of ecosystem functions and services can close this gap. However, studies on this multilayered relationship are currently missing. We therefore propose an integrated restoration agenda complementing trait-based empirical studies with simulation modeling. We introduce an ongoing case study to demonstrate how this framework could allow systematic assessment of the impacts of interacting environmental factors on long-term service provisioning. Our proposed agenda will benefit restoration programs by suggesting plant species compositions with specific traits that maximize the supply of multiple ecosystem services in the long term. Once the suggested compositions have been implemented in actual restoration projects, these assemblages should be monitored to assess whether they are resilient as well as to improve model parameterization. Additionally, the integration of empirical and simulation modeling research can improve global outcomes by raising the awareness of which restoration goals can be achieved, due to the quantification of trade-offs and synergies among ecosystem services under a wide range of environmental conditions.

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