Monitoring Ecological Processes for Restoration Projects

Herrick, J.E., G.E. Schuman and A. Rango

Publication Date:

Long-term (up to 75 years) studies in the western United States show that short-term monitoring of plant community composition alone incorrectly predicted the failure of treatments that were ultimately successful, and the success of treatments that ultimately failed. We propose that vegetation composition monitoring be combined with one or more ecological process indicators reflecting changes in three fundamental ecosystem attributes on which restoration success depends: soil and site stability, hydrologic function and biotic integrity. These simple, rapid, plot-level indicators reflect changes in resource redistribution and vegetation structure. We include a case study involving restoration of mixed grass prairie on mineland in the west-central United States.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Journal for Nature Conservation