Skip to Main Content
A Method for Evaluating Outcomes of Restoration When No Reference Sites ExistAuthor(s): J. Stephen Brewer; Timothy Menzel
Source: Restoration Ecology 17(1):4–11
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
PDF: Download Publication (135.06 KB)
DescriptionEcological restoration typically seeks to shift species composition toward that of existing reference sites. Yet, comparing the assemblages in restored and reference habitats assumes that similarity to the reference habitat is the optimal outcome of restoration and does not provide a perspective on regionally rare off-site species. When no such reference assemblages of species exist, an accurate assessment of the habitat affinities of species is crucial. We present a method for using a species by habitat data matrix generated by biodiversity surveys to evaluate community responses to habitat restoration treatments. Habitats within the region are rated on their community similarity to a hypothetical restored habitat, other habitats of conservation concern, and disturbed habitats. Similarity scores are reinserted into the species by habitat matrix to produce indicator (I) scores for each species in relation to these habitats. We apply this procedure to an open woodland restoration project in north Mississippi (U.S.A.) by evaluating initial plant community responses to restoration. Results showed a substantial increase in open woodland indicators, a modest decrease in generalists historically restricted to floodplain forests, and no significant change in disturbance indicators as a group. These responses can be interpreted as a desirable outcome, regardless of whether species composition approaches that of reference sites. The broader value of this approach is that it provides a flexible and objective means of predicting and evaluating the outcome of restoration projects involving any group of species in any region, provided there is a biodiversity database that includes habitat and location information.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationBrewer, J. Stephen; Menzel, Timothy. 2009. A Method for Evaluating Outcomes of Restoration When No Reference Sites Exist. Restoration Ecology 17(1):4–11.
Keywordscommunity similarity, disturbance, fire suppression, indicator species, invasive species, Mississippi, oak woodland restoration, off-site species, thinning
- Canopy arthropod responses to thinning and burning treatments in old-growth mixed-conifer forest in the Sierra Nevada, California
- The history of widespread decrease in oak dominance exemplified in a grassland--forest landscape
- Fire and birds in the southwestern United States
XML: View XML