Environmental Management

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 55–72 | Cite as

Ecological restoration as a strategy for conserving biological diversity

  • William R. JordanIII
  • Robert L. PetersII
  • Edith B. Allen


Though the restoration of disturbed ecosystems has so far played a relatively modest role in the effort to conserve biological diversity, there are reasons to suspect that its role will increase and that its contribution to the maintenance of diversity will ultimately prove crucial as techniques are further refined and as pristine areas for preservation become scarcer and more expensive.

It is now possible to restore a number of North American communities with some confidence. However, it should be noted that many current efforts to return degraded lands to productive use, like attempts to reclaim land disturbed by mining, try only for rehabilitation to a socially acceptable condition and fall considerably short of actually restoring a native ecological community.

Possible uses for restoration in the conservation of biodiversity include not only the creation of habitat on derelict sites, but also techniques for enlarging and redesigning existing reserves. Restoration may even make it possible to move reserves entirely in response to long-term events, such as changes in climate. Restoration in the form of reintroduction of single species to preexisting or restored habitat is also a critical link in programs to conserve species ex situ in the expectation of eventually returning them to the wild. And restoration provides opportunities to increase diversity through activities as diverse as management of utility corridors, transportation rights-of-way, and parks.

Key words

Restoration Reclamation Biological diversity Biodiversity Reintroduction 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Anonymous. 1983. Restoration key to assessing environmental damages liability: Interior seeks aid.Restoration and Management Notes 1(4): 14–15.Google Scholar
  2. Applegate, R. D. 1985. Pine plantations: study suggests ecological value.Restoration and Management Notes 3(1):28–29.Google Scholar
  3. Ashby, W. C., N. F. Rogers, and C. A. Kolar. 1980. Forest tree invasion and diversity on stripmines. Pages 273–281in H. E. Garrett and G. S. Cox (eds.), Proceedings of the central hardwoods conference III. University of Missouri, Columbia.Google Scholar
  4. Belous, R. 1984. Restoration among the redwoods.Restoration and Management Notes 2(2):56–65.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, J. J. 1985. Restoring the earth. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Botkin, D. B. 1977. Strategies for the reintroduction of species into damaged ecosystems. Pages 241–260in J. Cairns, K. L. Dickson, and E. E. Herricks (eds.), Recovery and restoration of damaged ecosystems. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, D., and R. G. Hallman. 1984. Reclaiming disturbed lands. USDA Forest Service 1454.1, Technical Services-Range, 2200.8422 2805, Equipment Development Center, Missoula, MT.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, J. E., J. B. Maddox, and W. E. Splittstoesser. 1983. The use of trees, shrubs and forbs for reclamation of mine spoils. Pages 129–139in P. E. Pope (ed.), Better reclamation with trees. Proceedings of the third annual conference, Purdue University, Lafayette, IN.Google Scholar
  9. Chapman, K. A., and R. J. Pleznac. 1981. A summary of prairie preservation and reconstruction in Michigan. Pages 151–155in R. L. Stuckey and K. J. Reese (eds.), Proceedings of the sixth North American prairie conference. Ohio Biological Survey, Notes No. 15. Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.Google Scholar
  10. Cooke, G. D., E. B. Welch, S. A. Peterson, and P. R. Newroth. 1986. Lake and reservoir restoration. Butterworths, Stoneham, MA.Google Scholar
  11. Cottam, G. 1979. Management: our first 45 years.Arboretum News 28(1):1–4, University of Wisconsin-Madison.Google Scholar
  12. Crabtree, A. F. 1984. Proceedings of the third international symposium on environmental concerns in rights-of-way management. Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.Google Scholar
  13. Cronk, Q. C. B. 1983. The decline of the redwoodThrochetripsis erythroxylon on St. Helena.Biological Conservation 26:163.Google Scholar
  14. Crossley, K. G. 1985. A survey of communication in the field of land restoration.Restoration and Management Notes 3:45.Google Scholar
  15. Curtis, J. T. 1959. The Vegetation of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.Google Scholar
  16. Diamond, J. M. 1975. The island dilemma: lessons of modern biogeography, studies for the design of nature reserves.Biological Conservation 7:129–146.Google Scholar
  17. Diekelmann, J., and R. Schuster. 1982. Natural landscaping: designing with native plant communities. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Game, M. 1980. Best shape for nature reserves.Nature 287:630–631.Google Scholar
  19. Gilpin, M. E., and J. Diamond. 1980. Subdivision of nature preserves and the maintenance of species diversity.Nature 285:567–568.Google Scholar
  20. Gore, J. A. 1985. The restoration of rivers and streams. Butterworths, Stoneham, MA.Google Scholar
  21. Gosselink, J. G., and R. H. Baumann. 1980. Wetland inventories: wetland loss along the United States coast.Z. Geomorphol. 34:173.Google Scholar
  22. Green, H. E., M. Sifuentes, and C. O. Martin. 1981. Reestablishment of native grasses by the Corps of Engineers on project lands in the Southwestern Division Area. Pages 194–201 in R. Stuckey and K. J. Reese (eds.), Proceedings of the sixth North American prairie conference, Ohio Biological Survey Notes, No. 15. Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.Google Scholar
  23. Hanmer, R. W. 1983. EPA's emerging nonpoint source role. Pages 1–2in Lake and reservoir management. Proceedings of the third annual conference of the North American lake management society. US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  24. Hellmann, R. 1984. Forest restoration at Fancher Center.Restoration and Management Notes 2(1): 16–17.Google Scholar
  25. Higgs, A. J., and M. B. Usher. 1980. Should nature reserves be large or small?Nature 285:568.Google Scholar
  26. Holtz, S. L., and E. A. Howell. 1983. Restoration of grassland in a degraded woods using the management techniques of cutting and burning. Pages 124–129in R. Brewer (ed.), Proceedings of the eighth North American prairie conference. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.Google Scholar
  27. Howell, E. 1986. Woodland restoration: an overview.Restoration and Management Notes 4(1):13–17.Google Scholar
  28. Janzen, D. 1985. How to grow a tropical national park. Summary of presentation to symposium on tropical forest conservation. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, December 4–6.Google Scholar
  29. Jordan, W. R., III. 1983. Hint of green.Restoration and Management Notes 1(4):4–10.Google Scholar
  30. Jordan, W. R., M. Gilpin, and J. Aber. 1987. Restoration ecology: a synthetic approach to ecological research. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.Google Scholar
  31. Karr, J. R. 1981. Assessment of biotic integrity using fish populations.Fisheries 6(6):21–37.Google Scholar
  32. Kleiman, D. G., B. B. Beck, L. A. Dietz, and J. D. Ballou. 1985. Conservation program for the golden lion tamarin: captive research and management, ecological studies, educational strategies, and reintroduction. Pages 959–979in K. Benirschke (ed.), Primates: the road to self-sustaining populations. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Klopatek, J. M., R. J. Olson, L. J. Emerson, and J. L. Jones. 1979. Land-use conflicts with natural vegetation in the United States. ORNL/TM-6813, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.Google Scholar
  34. Knutson, P. L., and W. W. Woodhouse, Jr. 1982. Pacific coastal marshes. Pages 111–130in R. R. Lewis (ed.), Creation and restoration of coastal plant communities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  35. Kolar, C., and W. C. Ashby. 1978. Potential for woodland habitat from surface-mine tree plantings. Pages 323–330in Editors, Transactions of the 43rd North American wildlife and natural resources conference, Wildlife Management Institute, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  36. Konstant, W. R., and R. A. Mittermeier. 1982. Introduction, reintroduction and translocation of neotropical primates: past experiences and future possibilities.International Zoo Yearbook 22:69–77.Google Scholar
  37. Larson, M. M. 1984. Invasion of volunteer tree species on stripmine plantations in east-central Ohio. Research Bulletin 1158, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, OH.Google Scholar
  38. Lewis, R. R., III. 1982. Lowmarshes, peninsular Florida. Pages 147–152in R. R. Lewis (ed.), Creation and restoration of coastal plant communities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  39. Leopold, L. 1962. Rivers.American Scientist 50:511–537.Google Scholar
  40. Maddy, J. K. 1970. Midwest livestock producers rediscover the prairie grasses. Pages 427–430in M. Wali (ed.), Prairie: a multiple view. University of North Dakota Press, Grand Forks, ND.Google Scholar
  41. Miller, R. M., and J. Jastrow. 1986. Soil studies at Fermilab support agricultural role for restored prairies.Restoration and Management Notes 4(2):62–63.Google Scholar
  42. Morrison, D. G. 1981. Use of prairie vegetation on disturbed sites. Transportation research record 822, Landscape and Environmental Design, National Academy of Science, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  43. Morrison, D. G. 1982. Principle of revegetating mined lands, wildlife values of gravel pits. Pages 51–58 in W. D. Svedarsky and R. D. Crawford (eds.), University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Miscellaneous Publication 17-1982, Crookston, MN.Google Scholar
  44. National Academy of Sciences. 1981. Surface mining: soil, coal and society. National Research Council, National Academy Press, 233 pp.Google Scholar
  45. National Research Council (NRC). 1983. Changing climate. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  46. Noss, R. 1983. A regional landscape approach to maintain diversity.BioScience 33(11):700–706.Google Scholar
  47. Noss, R. 1985a. Letter to the editor,Restoration and Management Notes 3(2).Google Scholar
  48. Noss, R. 1985b. Wilderness recovery and ecological restoration: an example for Florida.Earth First.Google Scholar
  49. Parmenter, R. R., J. A. MacMahon, M. E. Waaland, M. M. Stuebe, P. Landres, and C. M. Chrissafulli. 1985. Reclamation of surface coal mines in western Wyoming for wildlife habitat: a preliminary analysis.Reclamation and Revegetation Research 4:93–115.Google Scholar
  50. Peters, R. L. 1985. Global climate change: a challenge for restoration ecology.Restoration and Management Notes 3(2):62–67.Google Scholar
  51. Peters, R. L., and J. D. S. Darling. 1985. The greenhouse effect and nature reserves.BioScience 35:707–717.Google Scholar
  52. Powers, J. A. 1984. Learning by doing.Restoration and Management Notes 2(2):55–56.Google Scholar
  53. Race, M. S. 1985. Critique of present wetlands mitigation policies in the United States based on an analysis of past restoration projects in San Francisco bay.Environmental Management 9(1):71–82.Google Scholar
  54. Race, M. S., and D. R. Christie. 1982. Coastal zone development: mitigation, marsh creation, and decision-making.Environmental Management 6:317–328.Google Scholar
  55. Rafaill, B. L., and W. G. Vogel. 1978. A Guide for revegetation of surface-mined lands for wildlife in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. FWS 14-16-009-77-923.Google Scholar
  56. Riskind, D. H., and A. G. Davis. 1975. Prairie management and restoration in the state parks of Texas. Pages 369–373in M. K. Wali (ed.), Prairie: a multiple view. University of North Dakota Press, Grand Forks, ND.Google Scholar
  57. Rock, H. 1976. Prairie propagation handbook. Boerner Botanical Gardens, Hales Corners, WI.Google Scholar
  58. Rorslett, B. 1978. Some ecological implications of freshwater systems restoration. Pages 339–346in M. W. Holdgate and M. J. Woodman (eds.), The breakdown and restoration of ecosystems. Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  59. Sagal, Mary, and W. R. Jordan, III. 1986. Getting an education and finding a job in the reclamation busiess.Restoration and Management Notes 4:1.Google Scholar
  60. Schramm, P. 1970. A practical restoration method for tallgrass prairie. Pages 63–64in P. Schramm (ed.), Proceedings of a symposium on prairie and prairie restoration, Knox College, Galesburg, IL.Google Scholar
  61. Schramm, P. 1978. The do's and don'ts of prairie restoration. Pages 139–150in D. C. Glenn-Lewin (ed.), Fifth midwest prairie conference proceedings, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.Google Scholar
  62. Simberloff, D. S., and L. G. Abele. 1976. Island biogeography theory and conservation practice.Science 191:285–286.Google Scholar
  63. Smith, J. R., with B. S. Smith. 1980. The prairie garden. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.Google Scholar
  64. Smyser, C. A. 1982. Nature's design. Rodale Press, XXX, PA.Google Scholar
  65. Soots, R. F., and M. C. Landin. 1978. Development and management of avian habitat on dredged material islands. Technical Report DS-78-18, Dredged Material Research Program, US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Office, Chief of Engineers, US Army, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  66. Sperry, T. M. 1983. Analysis of the University of Wisconsin-Madison prairie restoration project. Pages 140–146in R. Brewer (ed.), Proceedings of the eighth North American prairie conference. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.Google Scholar
  67. Starnes, L. 1984. Letter to the editor,Restoration and Management Notes 2(2):56.Google Scholar
  68. Starnes, L. 1985. Letter to the editor,Restoration and Management Notes 3(2):59–60.Google Scholar
  69. United States Army Corps of Engineers. 1982. Draft impact analysis of the corps regulatory program 112. Memorandum, US Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  70. United States Code (USC). 1981. 33 Section 1344 Supplement V.Google Scholar
  71. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USDA). 1985a. An annotated bibliography of surfacemined area reclamation research. Northern Forest Experiment Station, Berea, KY.Google Scholar
  72. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (USDA). 1985b. Riparian ecosystems and their management: reconciling conflicting uses. First North American riparian conference. Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, General Technical Report, RM-120. National Information Service, Springfield, VA.Google Scholar
  73. Van der Valk, A. G., and C. B. Davis. 1979. A reconstruction of the recent vegetational history of a prairie glacial marsh, Eagle Lake, Iowa, from its seed bank.Aquatic Botany 6:25–51.Google Scholar
  74. Vogel, W. G. 1977. Revegetation of surface-mined lands in the east. Pages 167–172in Forests for people: a challenge in world affairs. Proceedings of the Society of American Foresters, 1977 National Convention. Bethesda, MD.Google Scholar
  75. Waltham, P., and O. L. Gilbert. 1978. Artificial diversification of grassland with native herbs.Journal of Environmental Management 7:29–42.Google Scholar
  76. Warkins, T. E., and E. A. Howell. 1983. Introduction of selected prairie forbs into an established tallgrass prairie restoration. Pages 140–146in R. Brewer (ed.), Proceedings of the eighth North American prairie conference. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.Google Scholar
  77. Wildman-Evans, E., and B. Albright. 1984. Mesic forest restoration results influenced by topography, microclimate (Wisconsin).Restoration and Management Notes 2:19.Google Scholar
  78. Willeke, G. E., and A. D. Baldwin. 1983. An evaluation of river restoration techniques in northwestern Ohio. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.Google Scholar
  79. Williamson, L. L. (ed.) 1985. Senate approves farm bill.Outdoor News Bulletin 39(29): 1.Google Scholar
  80. Wilson, E. O., and E. O. Willis. 1975. Applied biogeography. Pages 522–234in M. Cody and J. M. Diamond (eds.), Ecology and evolution of communities. Belknap, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  81. Woodhouse, W. W., Jr., and P. L. Knutson. 1982. Atlantic coastal marshes. Pages 45–70in R. R. Lewis (ed.), Creation and restoration of coastal plant communities. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  82. Zedler, J. B. 1982. The ecology of southern California coastal salt marshes: a community profile. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Services Program, Washington, DC. FWS/OBS-81/54. 110 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. JordanIII
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert L. PetersII
    • 3
  • Edith B. Allen
    • 4
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin Arboretum and Center for Restoration EcologyUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.The Conservation FoundationWashington D.C.USA
  4. 4.Institute for Land Rehabilitation and Department of Range ScienceUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

Personalised recommendations