Linking Restoration and Landscape Ecology

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Abstract

Landscape ecology focuses on questions typically addressed over broad spatial scales. A landscape approach embraces spatial heterogeneity, consisting of a number of ecosystems and/or landscape structures of different types, as a central theme. Such studies may aid restoration efforts in a variety of ways, including (1) provision of better guidance for selecting reference sites and establishing project goals and (2) suggestions for appropriate spatial configurations of restored elements to facilitate recruitment of flora/fauna. Likewise, restoration efforts may assist landscape–level studies, given that restored habitats, possessing various patch arrangements or being established among landscapes of varying diversity and conditions of human alteration, can provide extraordinary opportunities for experimentation over a large spatial scale. Restoration studies can facilitate the rate of information gathering for expected changes in natural landscapes for which introduction of landscape elements may be relatively slow. Moreover, data collected from restoration studies can assist in validation of dynamic models of current interest in landscape ecology. We suggest that restoration and landscape ecology have an unexplored mutualistic relationship that could enhance research and application of both disciplines.

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