Barriers and boosters to ecosystem restoration

Centennial recovery of restored forests

The long-term restoration of ecosystem complexity

I led this piece with my colleagues to set the stage of what we think should be the future of restoration ecology and, essentially, a big part of my research program. This also helped me realize that I need to work more closely with people from many disciplines (microbiology, genomics, archeology, history, or paleolimnology) to respond to my questions about time and complexity in ecosystem recovery. Ecology is not enough. We proposed that restoration ecology should address the complexity issue by focusing on two aspects. First, the re-assemblage of the interaction structure using a meta-community hub approach and the linked functions; and second, the recovery of the evolutionary potential, either lost or reduced during the degradation phase of ecosystems. The issue of time could be partially addressed by using space-for-time substitutions covering the timescale at which ecology operates, centuries to millennia. This is hardly found when looking at recovery from human disturbance, but study areas like this exist (see Research Statement). It seems the ideas proposed here have been quite well received given the rapidly growing citations the paper is having.