Restoration Ecology (Restor Ecol )

Publisher: Society for Ecological Restoration; Society for Ecological Restoration International, Blackwell Publishing


Restoration Ecology fosters the exchange of ideas among the many disciplines involved in the process of ecological restoration. Addressing global concerns and communicating them to the international scientific community, the Journal is at the forefront of a vital new direction in science and ecology. Original papers describe experimental, observational, and theoretical studies on terrestrial, marine, and freshwater systems, and are considered without taxonomic bias.The primary emphasis of the Journal is on ecological and biological restoration, and it also publishes papers on soils, water, air, and hydrologic functions. Edited by a distinguished panel, the Journal continues to be a major conduit for research scientists to publish their findings in the fight to not only halt ecological damage, but also to ultimately reverse it.

  • Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Restoration Ecology website
  • Other titles
    Restoration ecology (Online), Restoration ecology
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Blackwell Publishing

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • Some journals impose embargoes typically of 6 or 12 months, occasionally of 24 months
    • no listing of affected journals available as yet
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    • See Wiley-Blackwell entry for articles after February 2007
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • On author's server, institutional server or subject-based server
    • Server must be non-commercial
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged with set statement ("The definitive version is available at")
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tropical montane cloud forest is rapidly disappearing and our knowledge of how to restore this system is limited. In a cloud forest of central Veracruz, Mexico we studied seedling survival, growth and causes of mortality (microenvironment and herbivory) of three native tree species: Fagus grandifolia, Quercus germana and Q. xalapensis transplanted into abandoned pastures (< 1 year old) and secondary forests (9-17 years old). Microenvironment differed between the two habitats, temperature and photosynthetically active radiation were higher and humidity was lower in the abandoned pastures than in the secondary forests. Seedling survival was greater in secondary forests than in pastures for all species: F. grandifolia, 94 and 64%; Q. germana, 88 and 68%; and Q. xalapensis, 61 and 57%, respectively. The cause of mortality differed between habitats with gophers (24.2% mortality) and mice (4.8%) killing the most seedlings in pastures, and damping-off (16%) was the most important cause in secondary forests. The relative growth rate in height and basal area of all species was significantly higher in abandoned pastures than in secondary forests; Q. xalapensis had the highest growth rate, followed by Q. germana and F. grandifolia. The environmental conditions in this mountainous cloud forest region seem less stressful to planted seedlings than the conditions of other lowland systems, since frequent clouds favor their establishment even in open sites. We conclude that Fagaceae species can successfully establish in abandoned pastures in mesic environments. Thus, the species studied can be used to speed cloud forest regeneration in the same area at different successional stages.
    Restoration Ecology 01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Loss of functional habitat in riverine systems is a global fisheries issue. Few studies, however, describe the decision-making approach taken to abate loss of fish spawning habitat. Numerous habitat restoration efforts are underway and documentation of successful restoration techniques for spawning habitat of desirable fish species in large rivers connecting the Laurentian Great Lakes are reported here. In 2003, to compensate for the loss of fish spawning habitat in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers that connect the Great Lakes Huron and Erie, an international partnership of state, federal, and academic scientists began restoring fish spawning habitat in both of these rivers. Using an adaptive management approach, we created 1,100 m2 of productive fish spawning habitat near Belle Isle in the Detroit River in 2004; 3,300 m2 of fish spawning habitat near Fighting Island in the Detroit River in 2008; and 4,000 m2 of fish spawning habitat in the Middle Channel of the St. Clair River in 2012. Here, we describe the adaptive-feedback management approach that we used to guide our decision making during all phases of spawning habitat restoration, including problem identification, team building, hypothesis development, strategy development, prioritization of physical and biological imperatives, project implementation, habitat construction, monitoring of fish use of the constructed spawning habitats, and communication of research results. Numerous scientific and economic lessons learned from 10 years of planning, building, and assessing fish use of these three fish spawning habitat restoration projects are summarized in this article.
    Restoration Ecology 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: A major challenge to advancing the science and practice of ecological restoration is working across large landscapes containing diverse sites that may respond differently to restoration. We conducted a 5-year restoration experiment, replicated across 9 sites spanning 3 soil parent material types within a 9,000-ha Pinus ponderosa forest landscape. We evaluated plant community response to restoration Pinus thinning, grazing, and aqueous smoke application. We measured vegetation before (2003) and 3 (2006) and 5 (2008) years after treatment. Plant community responses of species richness, cover, and composition were diverse, ranging from increases, decreases, or no change depending on soil parent material, tree thinning, and presence or exclusion of grazing. Restoration outcomes were under hierarchical control: soil parent material constrained response to Pinus thinning, which in turn influenced grazing effects. On limestone-derived soil, responses included no change in species richness but increased plant cover with Pinus thinning. Both plant richness and cover increased on benmorite soil after thinning, and cover generally increased more without grazing. On rocky, basalt soil, plant richness increased but cover did not after any treatment. Diversity of responses to restoration has implications for: (1) setting goals or monitoring indicators tailored to inherent soil capability; (2) identifying where grazing most affects restoration outcomes; and (3) forecasting responses to restoration across landscapes. Diverse responses to restoration along physiographic gradients such as soil parent material warrant consideration when developing restoration across degraded landscapes.
    Restoration Ecology 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Community assembly theory predicts that resource availability, biotic interactions, and dispersal dynamics will determine community composition. Recent work has demonstrated that manipulating these processes or “filters” to exclude exotic species may assist in restoring invaded plant communities. In this study, we began by manipulating an abiotic filter, summer water availability, on the theory that irrigation prior to the growing season could trigger the germination of exotic species during unfavorable environmental conditions. First, we performed a greenhouse experiment to assess the germination traits of 23 native and exotic species at low (16°C, spring) and high (30°C, summer) temperatures. At summer temperatures, we found high emergence of many exotic and native grasses and low emergence of native forbs suggesting that summer irrigation may help deplete the exotic seed bank. In a second experiment, we established field plots to test the efficacy of summer irrigation and simultaneously manipulated a biotic and a dispersal filter, subjecting some plots to grazing and/or native seed addition. Summer irrigation and seed addition had no effect on percent cover or species richness while grazing reduced native cover but increased native species richness and soil nitrogen content. Our data suggest that manipulating grazing (a biotic filter) may be more effective than altering abiotic or dispersal filters when restoring invaded serpentine grassland. However, summer irrigation may also be effective, if applied at lower temperatures or for longer periods.
    Restoration Ecology 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We assessed the degree to which fencing, livestock exclusion, and replanting of riparian zones affected avian assemblages in massively cleared landscapes. Measurements were made at three creeks in the southern Murray–Darling Basin in southeastern Australia, each of which had circa 1-km long treated sections and paired “untreated” circa 1-km sections, where no fencing, planting, or stock exclusion was done. We measured the change in vegetation characteristics and abundances of native birds for up to 8 years after works were completed. Prior to data collection, we developed expected responses of bird species based on the anticipated time-courses of change in vegetation structure. We used hierarchical Bayesian models to explore the effects of the management actions, and to account for within-site variation in vegetation characteristics. There were major changes in vegetation structure (reductions in bare ground and increases in shrubs and tree recruitment) but avian responses generally were small and not as expected. There are at least four possible reasons for the limited avian responses: (1) there has been a long-term decline in woodland birds across the region; (2) the study was conducted during the longest drought in the instrumental record in the study region; (3) the total amount of replanted vegetation was small in a massively denuded region; and (4) monitoring may have been over too short a term to detect responses to longer-term changes in structural vegetation.
    Restoration Ecology 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In 2009, a group of practitioners took action to restore 175 miles of riparian habitat impaired by invasive plants along the Dolores River in southwestern Colorado and eastern Utah. Recognizing the magnitude of ecological, jurisdictional, and management challenges associated with this large-scale initiative, this group of managers built trust and relationships with key partners to foster collaboration across boundaries and cultivate consensus of a variety of perspectives and forms of knowledge. What emerged was a network of individuals, organizations, and agencies dedicated to restoring the Dolores River riparian corridor while sharing information and learning from one another. This public–private collaboration, called the Dolores River Restoration Partnership (DRRP), has been successful in creating a process by which financial, technical, and human resources are shared across boundaries to restore a riparian corridor. Specifically, the DRRP developed effective planning documents, a responsive governance structure, monitoring protocols, and a shared mindset for extracting lessons learned that have been instrumental in making progress toward its shared restoration goals and addressing a wide variety of restoration challenges. The tools developed by the partnership and lessons learned from their utility are outlined in this case study as a means to inform other collaborative restoration efforts.
    Restoration Ecology 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Surface mining has altered a vast land area in the Appalachian Region, threatening highly biodiverse native forest, contributing to habitat fragmentation, and generating severely disturbed sites that are unsuitable for succession to native ecosystems. Although there are many factors that influence species colonization and establishment on these sites, selection of topsoil substitutes suitable for native species is of particular concern. A series of experimental plots was installed in 2005 on a reclaimed mine site in eastern Kentucky, United States, to examine the suitability of three spoil types (unweathered GRAY sandstone, weathered BROWN sandstone, and MIXED sandstone/shale) as topsoil substitutes. Bareroot 1:0 seedlings of four native hardwood species (Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Quercus rubra, Q. alba, and Liriodendron tulipifera) were planted in the spoil. Seed required for ground cover was not applied so that natural colonization could be evaluated. Two years after installation, researchers concluded that tree growth was highest on BROWN; in addition, species richness and ground cover of volunteer vegetation were higher on BROWN. In 2013, tree volume was over 50 times higher in BROWN than GRAY. In addition to planted hardwoods, naturally colonizing vegetation provided nearly 100% cover on BROWN compared to 20% on MIXED and less than 10% on GRAY plots. Species richness of volunteer vegetation continued to be higher on BROWN (41) than GRAY (30) or MIXED (30), with native species comprising 65–70% of total species richness on all plots. Findings suggest that when topsoil substitutes are used, weathered spoils are more favorable to reforestation than unweathered spoil.
    Restoration Ecology 12/2014;
  • Restoration Ecology 11/2014; 22(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Mimicking the natural heterogeneity of wetland substrates, e.g. by roughening surface soil or constructing hummocks, has been shown to facilitate wetland plant establishment. We asked if incorporating substrate heterogeneity could also help plants withstand variation in moisture levels. In a wetland with Carex stricta (tussock sedge) as the main restoration target, we manipulated substrates to create different soil moisture environments for planted C. stricta plugs. Our artificial mounds mimicked tussocks formed by C. stricta in natural meadows (circa 10–40 cm in height); we also varied mound compositions and created shallow depressions. Monitoring demonstrated variation in soil moisture among our treatments and natural differences in soil moisture between experimental blocks. Additionally, rainfall varied from severe drought in year 1 to extreme rainfall in year 2. Plug survival, flowering, cover, biomass, leaf length, and growth rate all varied with treatment, block, and/or year. Interactions among those factors were common. Planting plugs in shallow depressions exacerbated stress in a wet block during a wet year, causing low survival. Planting plugs in moisture-retaining peat pots allowed them to survive and sustain growth even in a dry block during a dry year. We conclude that heterogeneous substrates can be used to hedge against environmental variability by widening the range of microsites available within a restoration site and thereby moderating stressful conditions in some areas.
    Restoration Ecology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: An international consortium of botanic gardens and arboreta is launching a collaborative Ecological Restoration Alliance under the auspices of BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International). We describe the Alliance and the ways in which it serves worldwide restoration efforts. Botanic gardens and arboreta are uniquely positioned to contribute to restoration science and practice. They have the plant collections and information required to understand flora and vegetation, and the horticultural expertise and experience needed to propagate, grow, manage, and conserve plants, all of which are essential for successful restoration. Botanic gardens work beyond their walls to network, educate, advocate, develop policy, build capacity, and engage in restoration projects throughout the world.
    Restoration Ecology 11/2014; 22(6):713-715.
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    ABSTRACT: Site preparation designed to exhaust the soil seedbank of adventive species can improve the success of tallgrass prairie restoration. Despite these efforts, increased rates of atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition over the next century could potentially promote the growth of nitrophilic, adventive species in tallgrass restoration projects. We used a field experiment to examine how N addition affected species composition and plant productivity over the first 3 years of a tallgrass prairie restoration that was preceded by the planting of glyphosate-resistant crops and multiple applications of glyphosate to exhaust the pre-existing seedbank. We predicted that N addition would increase the percent cover of adventive plant species not included in the original seeding. Contrary to our prediction, only the cover of native species increased with N addition; native non-leguminous forbs increased substantially, with Conyza canadensis (a weedy native species not part of the restoration seed mix) exploiting the combination of high N and bare ground in the first year, and non-leguminous forbs (in particular Monarda fistulosa) and native C3 grasses, all of which were seeded, increasing with N addition by the third year. Native legumes was the only functional group that exhibited lower cover in N addition plots than in control plots. There was no significant response by native C4 grasses to N addition, and adventive grasses remained mostly absent from the plots. Overall, our results suggest that site pre-treatment with herbicide may continue to be effective in minimizing adventive grasses in restored tallgrass prairie, despite future increases in atmospheric N deposition.
    Restoration Ecology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Multi-species mixed plantations can be designed to meet social, economic, and environmental objectives during forest restoration. This paper reports results from an experiment in southern Sweden concerning the influence of three different fast growing nurse tree species on the cover of herbaceous vegetation and on the performance of several target tree species. After 10 years, the nurse trees had reduced the competing herbaceous vegetation but the effect was weak and it may take more than a decade to achieve effective vegetation control. The nurse tree species Betula pendula and Larix x eurolepis did improve stem form in some target tree species, but had a minor effect on survival and growth. The open conditions before crown closure of nurse trees strongly influence seedling performance and so delayed planting of target tree species may provide a means to avoid those conditions. Survival and growth differed greatly among the tree species. Besides the two nurse tree species mentioned above, high survival was found in Picea abies and Quercus robur and intermediate survival in Fagus sylvatica, Tilia cordata, and in the N-fixing nurse tree Alnus glutinosa. Survival was low in the target tree species Fraxinus excelsior L. and Prunus avium. For restoration practitioners, our results illustrate the potential of using nurse trees for rapidly building a new forest structure and simultaneously increase productivity, which might be a cost-effective strategy for forest restoration.
    Restoration Ecology 11/2014; 22(6):758-765.
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    ABSTRACT: Over a century has passed since elk were extirpated in eastern North America. During that time, numerous attempts to reintroduce elk into eastern North America have resulted in varying degrees of success and failure. An overview of restoration efforts during the last 100 years is presented here with emphasis on the differences in rates of population change among regions and differences in major causes of elk mortality during both the pre- and post-acclimation periods. Approximately 40% of recorded elk reintroduction attempts in eastern North America resulted in failure with the majority of these having occurred in the first half of the 20th century. Although rates of population change in elk were highly variable, they were not related to founding population size. Major causes of mortality varied among regions and should be considered in future reintroduction attempts.
    Restoration Ecology 11/2014; 22(6).
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    ABSTRACT: Mangrove forests are active carbon sinks and important for nutrient cycling in coastal ecosystems. Restoration of degraded mangrove habitats enhances return of ecosystem goods and services, including carbon sequestration. Our objective was to assess the restoration of primary productivity of reforested mangrove stands in comparison with natural reference stands in Gazi Bay, Kenya. Litter fall data were collected in nine Rhizophora mucronata and Sonneratia alba monospecific stands by use of litter traps over 2 years. Litter was emptied monthly, dried, sorted, and weighed. The reforested and natural stands showed seasonality patterns only in the production of reproductive material. Leaves constituted the highest percentage to total litter fall. Litter productivity rates for the R. mucronata stands were not significantly different and ranged from 6.61–10.15 to 8.36–11.02 t ha−1 yr−1 for the restored and natural stands, respectively. The productivity of 5 years R. mucronata stands reached 5.22 t ha−1 yr−1 and was significantly different from other stands. Litter productivity rates for S. alba stands was 7.77–7.85 for the restored stands and 10.15 t ha−1 yr−1 for the natural stand but differences were not significant. Our results indicate that plantations of at least 11 years have attained litter productivity rates comparable to the natural forests. This suggests that productivity of replanted mangroves is likely to reach complete recovery by this age under the prevailing environmental conditions.
    Restoration Ecology 09/2014;
  • Restoration Ecology 09/2014; 22(5).
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    ABSTRACT: Classifications are typically specific to particular issues or areas, leading to patchworks of subjectively defined spatial units. Stream conservation is hindered by the lack of a universal habitat classification system and would benefit from an independent hydrology-guided spatial framework of units encompassing all aquatic habitats at multiple spatial scales within large regions. We present a system that explicitly separates the spatial framework from any particular classification developed from the framework. The framework was constructed from landscape variables that are hydrologically and biologically relevant, covered all space within the study area, and was nested hierarchically and spatially related at scales ranging from the stream reach to the entire region; classifications may be developed from any subset of the 9 basins, 107 watersheds, 459 subwatersheds, or 10,000s of valley segments or stream reaches. To illustrate the advantages of this approach, we developed a fish-guided classification generated from a framework for the Great Lakes region that produced a mosaic of habitat units which, when aggregated, formed larger patches of more general conditions at progressively broader spatial scales. We identified greater than 1,200 distinct fish habitat types at the valley segment scale, most of which were rare. Comparisons of biodiversity and species assemblages are easily examined at any scale. This system can identify and quantify habitat types, evaluate habitat quality for conservation and/or restoration, and assist managers and policymakers with prioritization of protection and restoration efforts. Similar spatial frameworks and habitat classifications can be developed for any organism in any riverine ecosystem.
    Restoration Ecology 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: To combat decades of anthropogenic degradation, restoration programs seek to improve ecological conditions through habitat enhancement. Rapid assessments of condition are needed to support adaptive management programs and improve the understanding of restoration effects at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Previous attempts to evaluate restoration practices on large river systems have been hampered by assessment tools that are irreproducible or metrics without clear connections to population responses. We modified a demonstration flow assessment approach to assess the realized changes in habitat quantity and quality attributable to restoration effects. We evaluated the technique's ability to predict anadromous salmonid habitat and survey reproducibility on the Trinity River in northern California. Fish preference clearly aligned with a priori designations of habitat quality: the odds of observing rearing Chinook or coho salmon within high-quality habitats ranged between 10 and 16 times greater than low qualities, and in all cases the highest counts were associated with highest quality habitat. In addition, the technique proved to be reproducible with “substantial” to “almost perfect” agreement of results from independent crews, a considerable improvement over a previous demonstration flow assessment. These results support the use of the technique for assessing changes in habitat from restoration efforts and for informing adaptive management decisions.
    Restoration Ecology 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Aquatic turtles worldwide are plagued with habitat loss due to development and shoreline alteration that destroys the terrestrial–aquatic linkage which they must cross to reproduce successfully. Furthermore, nesting habitat loss can concentrate nesting, increasing nest predator efficiency. We describe how the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island created nesting habitat for Malaclemys terrapin (Diamondback Terrapin), and document nesting success in response to construction progress and the absence of raccoons and foxes, the primary nest predators. We monitored terrapin nests throughout the nesting seasons from 2002 to 2011 to determine overall and within-nest survivorship. Female terrapins began nesting on the restoration project within 1 year but planned construction during the study eliminated some nesting areas and opened previously inaccessible areas. Overall, nest survivorship was considerably higher than mainland nesting areas due to the absence of raccoons and foxes on the island and within-nest survivorship was similar. Egg size, hatchling size, and the frequency of shell scute anomalies were similar to other terrapin populations, suggesting normal developmental conditions on the island. We documented annual variation in hatchling size that correlated negatively with mean air temperature during the incubation season. Our results indicate that restored or created isolated island habitat can be located rapidly by terrapins and can become an important source of recruitment in regions where nesting habitat is limited and predation is high. Poplar Island illustrates how habitat loss and restoration can affect turtle populations by revealing the changes in nesting patterns and success in newly created, predator-free habitat.
    Restoration Ecology 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined patterns of mortality and determinants of survival among elk recently restored to four sites in Ontario, Canada (1998–2005). We predicted that: (1) elk located in release sites closer to the core of their historic range would have higher survival; (2) survival would increase as an animal's time and experience on the landscape increased; and (3) survival rates would decline as animals moved farther away from the release site. During the study, 443 elk were radiocollared and released; 218 mortalities were documented. Predation by wolves was the most important proximate cause of mortality, followed by death due to injuries from translocation and/or capture myopathy, accidents, emaciation, poaching, and Parelaphostrongylus tenuis infection. Overall, annual survival of elk across Ontario ranged from 0.45 (0.37–0.53) to 0.81 (0.66–0.90), with rates being lowest in the years immediately following release and highest in the final years of the study; this pattern was due to high initial mortality from translocation injuries and/or capture myopathy and possibly lack of familiarity with novel habitat. Model-averaged hazards further support this finding, as the most important factor influencing elk survival was the length of holding period, with elk released after limited holding being less likely to survive than those held for longer periods. Our results suggest that mortalities caused by capture myopathy and transportation-related injuries are important sources of risk for translocated elk. The method of introduction to the novel landscape and behavior in the first year should be accommodated via soft-release and appropriate release areas.
    Restoration Ecology 08/2014;