On the Status of Restoration Science: Obstacles and Opportunities


  • Evan Weiher

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, WI 54701, U.S.A.
      Address correspondence to E. Weiher, email weiher@uwec.edu
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Address correspondence to E. Weiher, email weiher@uwec.edu


Terrestrial restoration ecology is not as well developed as aquatic and wetland restoration. There are several key obstacles to progress in restoration ecology, but these obstacles may also be viewed as opportunities to exploit. One obstacle is demonstration science, or an overreliance on simplistic experiments with few treatment factors and few levels of those factors. Complex, multivariate experiments yield greater insights, especially when teamed with sophisticated methods of data analysis. A second key obstacle is myopic scholarship that has led to little synthesis and weak conceptual theory. A greater awareness of and explicit references to ecological principles will help develop the conceptual basis of restoration science. Where should restoration ecology be headed? We should consider forming partnerships with developers, landscape artists, and industry to do complex, large-scale experiments and make restoration a more common part of everyday life.