Success of passive restoration across biomes and disturbance types

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Karel Prach, Petra Janeckova, Lawrence R. Walker

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We conducted a global evaluation of the success of passive restoration, the spontaneous development of successional vegetation to a desired target. Due to very heterogeneous data, we used simple categories: (i) successful – the target was reached, or expected to be reached, within 100 years; (ii) partly successful – the target was only partially reached; (iii) unsuccessful – the target was not reached. We selected 530 studies for our evaluation, covering 8 terrestrial biomes and 10 common types of disturbances, from fully natural (volcanoes) to fully anthropogenic (mining). A large majority of the studies (60%) reported success of passive restoration, 33% of studies reported partial success, and only 7% reported no success. Success of passive restoration increased with latitude and was linked to decreasing influence of invasive alien plants on late successional stages with increasing latitude. The most successful passive restoration was after fire, floods, and glacial retreat, and the least successful was in abandoned arable land and after mining, suggesting increased human alteration decreased the success of passive restoration. Consequently, we can rely more on passive restoration at higher latitudes and in less human-altered landscapes. However, while we provide a general framework, in any particular restoration project, one must carefully consider local conditions.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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