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Intro to Restoration Ecology ENSC 201 – Spring 2008.

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1 Intro to Restoration Ecology ENSC 201 – Spring 2008

2 Why do we need restoration? 53 % of wetlands lost nationwide > 35 % of wetlands lost in Vermont 50-70% loss of brackish intertidal mudflats, shores, and coastal plains 90 % loss of aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay 70 % loss of riparian forests nationwide 90 % loss of old-growth forests nationwide 99.5 % loss of old-growth forests in the eastern U.S. 97 % loss of pine-oak-heathland in the Lake Champlain Basin 90 % loss of short and tall-grass prairie ecosystems nationwide 90 % of shrub-steppe ecosystems degraded by livestock grazing nationwide Source: Noss et al (1995)




6 How do we prioritize areas for restoration? 1.Need Ecological value  What is the relative importance of different sites for ecosystem functioning?  Examples: 1.Riparian areas 2.Headwaters 3.Estuaries 4.Unstable uplands 5.Wetland complexes 6.Rare communities 7.Critical habitats for particular species Degree of degradation? Degree of threat  more applicable for identifying areas in need of protection or conservation 2.Opportunity



9 How does restoration fit into an overall conservation or sustainability strategy? The Functional Landscape Approach

10 But what about entire ecosystems that have been severely degrade? Answer: We need an ecosystem-level restoration approach

11 Restoration as The Acid Test of Ecology: Do we understand how ecosystems work well enough to reconstruct them?

12 It helps to have a conceptual model of the system

13 Ecosystem-Level Restoration Focus on ecological processes Examples: 1. Soil productivity 2.Natural disturbance dynamics 3.Hydrology 4.Ecological succession!

14 Tiered Restoration Site-specific restoration, remediation, mitigation, etc. Coordinated restoration of critical areas as per an overall ecosystem management plan Ecosystem restoration: “Bringing back an entire system or the dynamics of that system” Large-scale Small-scale


16 Atlantic Rainforest Restoration The Atlantic rainforest once covered 400,000 square miles Only 7% remains 450 tree species per hectare 2.7% of world’s plant species just in what is left Testing innovative funding mechanisms  U.S. companies paying for carbon sequestration How do we restore it?

17 Estimates of potential carbon credit values range from $4 to $60 (or even $110) per ton of C. European market currently trading for $8 to $20 per metric ton. Future value could increase substantially as international carbon markets develop. Carbon Revenue

18 Chicago Climate Exchange “Voluntary ‘Cap and Trade’ greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading system.” One Mg Carbon trading for about $5 Membership from the forest products industry includes: –Abitibi-Consolidated –Aracruz Celulose S.A. –Cenibra Nipo Brasiliera S.A. –International Paper –Klabin S.A. –MeadWestvaco Corp. –Stora Enso North America –Suzano Papel E Celulose SA –Temple-Inland Inc

19 Figure from Ingerson. 2007.


21 Forest Cover Trends in New England Since European Settlement

22 Differences Between Pre-Settlement and Current Forests in VT and NH Species: Abundance: Chestnut Elm Beech Sugar Maple Hemlock White Pine Red Spruce White Birch Cottonwood Pin Cherry Red Maple Functionally Extirpated Communities: Abundance: Old-Growth Forest of All Types Floodplain Silver Maple and Sugar Maple Rich Lowland Oak/Basswood/Ash Forested Wetlands Native Grasslands and Shrublands Forest Composition Sources: Cogbill (2000); McLachlan et al. (2000); Fuller et al. 1998; Foster 1992; Siccama (1971)






28 Prescribed Fire


30 Restoration as Experimentation What are the elements of experimental design?










40 Seedling Mortality

41 Effectiveness of Tubes

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