Landscape-Scale Restoration Ecology

Authored by: Michael P. Perring

Routledge Handbook of Ecological and Environmental Restoration

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138922129
eBook ISBN: 9781315685977
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315685977.ch4

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Abstract

For restoration ecologists to successfully achieve their goals, they need to be mindful of the landscape scale (i.e. the processes and patterns in the matrix beyond a target patch, and the abiotic and biotic responses to these properties). In this chapter, I outline fundamental ecological reasons why this is the case. In addition I explain how land degradation, environmental change and biodiversity loss have led to targets that imply broad-scale restoration, and elucidate practical developments, in the planning stages and ‘on-the-ground’, that are aiding restoration at the landscape scale. Throughout my elaboration, it will be apparent that restoration at that scale poses challenges: challenges to prioritizing and cost-effectively implementing schemes given competing demands for space and limited resources; challenges for those attempting to restore systems in the field; and challenges to communities, governments and other stakeholders as to what landscape-scale restoration can aim for in the changing environments of the Anthropocene. At the same time, landscape-scale restoration offers opportunities to bolster natural, social and economic capital. In my opinion, these opportunities will be most effectively realized when restoration is carried out with a future-oriented view that is mindful of history, and that works with, rather than against, the context of changing environments and the needs of a growing global human population. I don’t believe it will be sufficient for restoration to act in a piecemeal way (i.e. restoring patch by patch in a manner that ignores surrounding and potentially competing land uses), even when using forward-looking principles. To fully grasp opportunities, restoration needs to work with a multi-functional landscape perspective which will involve collaboration and co-operation with multiple, potentially conflicting, stakeholders. This chapter aims to inform the reader as to the why and wherefore of landscape-scale restoration.

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