Clinical Practice for Ecosystem Health: The Role of Ecological Restoration


Address correspondence to: J.A. Harris, Chair of Environmental Technology, Cranfield University, Silsoe, Bedfordshire MK45 4DT, England; E-mail


In this paper, we discuss the need for synergy between the emerging fields of ecosystem health and ecological restoration and examine whether anyone engaged in ecological restoration has attempted this yet, explicitly or implicitly. We provide definitions of terms used in ecosystem health and examples of ecological restoration practices in each of the major ecosystem health categories. We point to the need for effective and measurable indicators of ecosystem health. If we view the concept of ecosystem health as the diagnostic toolbox and ecological restoration as the treatment toolbox for the management of damaged ecosystems, there is clearly the potential for useful synergy. The challenge is to blend a level of generality that allows comparison among different systems with the ability to be specific enough to be helpful in particular cases.