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Keywords:

  • land use legacies;
  • restoration;
  • soil;
  • soil ecology;
  • soil fauna

Abstract

Available evidence suggests that research in terrestrial restoration ecology has been dominated by the engineering and botanical sciences. Because restoration science is a relatively young discipline in ecology, the theoretical framework for this discipline is under development and new theoretical offerings appear regularly in the literature. In reviewing this literature, we observed an absence of in-depth discussion of how soils, and in particular the ecology of soils, can be integrated into the developing theory of restoration science. These observations prompted us to assess the current role of soil ecological knowledge in restoration research and restoration practice. Although soils are universally regarded as critical to restoration success, and much research has included manipulations of soil variables, we found that better integration of soil ecological principles could still contribute much to the practice of ecosystem restoration. Here we offer four potential points of departure for increased dialog between restoration ecologists and soil ecologists. We hope to encourage the view that soil is a complex, heterogeneous, and vital entity and that adoption of this point of view can positively affect restoration efforts worldwide.