The Challenge to Restore Processes in Face of Nonlinear Dynamics—On the Crucial Role of Disturbance Regimes


  • Anke Jentsch

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Conservation Biology, UFZ—Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany
    2. Disturbance Ecology and Vegetation Dynamics, Bayreuth University, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany
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Address correspondence to A. Jentsch, email


Increasingly, restoration ecologists and managers are challenged to restore ecological processes that lead to self-sustaining ecosystem dynamics. Due to changing environmental conditions, however, restoration goals need to include novel regimes beyond prior reference conditions or reference dynamics. In face of these fundamental challenges in process-based restoration ecology, disturbance ecology can offer useful insights. Here, I discuss the contribution of disturbance ecology to understanding assembly rules, ecosystem dynamics, regime shifts, and nonlinear dynamics. Using the patch and multipatch concept, all insights are organized according to two spatial and two temporal categories: “patch–event,”“patch–multievent,”“multipatch–event,” and “multipatch–multievent.” This concept implies the consideration of both spatial patterns and temporal rhythms inside and outside of a restoration site. Emerging issues, such as uncoupling of internal and external dynamics, are considered.