Spontaneous Succession versus Technical Reclamation in the Restoration of Disturbed Sites


  • Karel Prach,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 31, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
    2. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Dukelská 135, CZ-379 82 Třeboň, Czech Republic
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  • Richard J. Hobbs

    1. School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia
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Address correspondence to K. Prach, email prach@prf.jcu.cz


We address the question: under which circumstances can we rely upon spontaneous succession and when are technical measures more effective in restoration programs? To answer this question, the position of a disturbed site along the productivity–stress gradient was considered. The probability of attaining a target stage by spontaneous succession decreases toward both ends of the productivity–stress gradient, whereas the acceptance of technical measures generally increases. In correspondence with that, the monetary cost of restoration increases toward the ends of the gradient. Therefore, spontaneous succession is advocated especially if environmental site conditions are not very extreme.