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Keywords:

  • attractor;
  • community;
  • modeling;
  • recovery;
  • population;
  • trajectory;
  • vegetation

Abstract

Concepts and models from complex systems theory are introduced to help expand the approaches to quantify restoration success in ecology. Main points are illustrated using case studies. These include (1) recovery and restoration trajectories may be complex (nonlinear, unpredictable, and leading to multiple attractors), and thus knowledge of well-known model trajectories from complex systems theory may be useful; (2) modeling may be inevitable, as complete and long-term observation of recovery pathways are rarely possible; (3) holistic views (e.g., community level as opposed to population-level) may be necessary to understand governing processes in restoration and recovery.