Riparian forest restoration: Conflicting goals, trade-offs, and measures of success

Heather Bateman, David M. Merritt, J. Bradley Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Restoration projects can have varying goals, depending on the specific focus, rationale, and aims for restoration. When restoration projects use project-specific goals to define activities and gauge success without considering broader ecological context, determination of project implications and success can be confounding. We used case studies from the Middle Rio Grande (MRG), southwest USA, to demonstrate how restoration outcomes can rank inconsistently when narrowly-based goals are used. Resource managers have chosen MRG for restoration due to impacts to the natural flood regime, reduced native tree recruitment, and establishment of non-native plants. We show restoration "success" ranks differently based upon three goals: increasing biodiversity, increasing specific ecosystem functions, or restoring native communities. We monitored 12 restored and control sites for seven years. Treatments ranked higher in reducing exotic woody populations, and increasing proportions of native plants and groundwater salvage, but generally worse at removing fuels, and increasing species and habitat structural diversity. Managers cannot rely on the term "restoration" to sufficiently describe a project's aim. Specific desired outcomes must be defined and monitored. Long-term planning should include flexibility to incorporate provisions for adaptive management to refine treatments to avoid unintended ecological consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2334-2347
Number of pages14
JournalSustainability
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Fingerprint

riparian forest
restoration
Restoration
Managers
manager
ecological consequences
Salvaging
Biodiversity
adaptive management
ecosystem function
Ecosystems
biodiversity
Gages
habitat
gauge
Groundwater
natural disaster
flexibility
project
regime

Keywords

  • Ecological services
  • Ecological standards
  • Invasive species
  • Monitoring
  • Restoration
  • Riparian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Riparian forest restoration : Conflicting goals, trade-offs, and measures of success. / Bateman, Heather; Merritt, David M.; Johnson, J. Bradley.

In: Sustainability, Vol. 4, No. 9, 2012, p. 2334-2347.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bateman, Heather ; Merritt, David M. ; Johnson, J. Bradley. / Riparian forest restoration : Conflicting goals, trade-offs, and measures of success. In: Sustainability. 2012 ; Vol. 4, No. 9. pp. 2334-2347.
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