How Can Ecosystems Be Restored?
Some general guidelines for restoring an ecosystem:
• Assess the site.
— What are the current conditions of the site?
— What is causing disturbance?
— Identify methods for stopping or reversing the disturbance?
• Develop project goals.
— Use reference sites (nearby sites in natural condition) and/or
— Consult historical sources that describe the pre-disturbance community.
• Remove sources of disturbance.
— Remove toxic materials.
— Remove causes of erosion.
— Reduce overpopulation of species.
— Eradicate invasive species.
• Restore processes/natural disturbance cycles such as flood or fire cycles.
— Restore tidal flow.
— Rehabilitate substrates.
— Restore soil texture or chemistry, water regimes or water quality.
• Restore vegetation.
— Direct re-vegetation or seeding of a site using native species suited to local environmental conditions. Where possible a variety of sources within the local region should be used to ensure genetic diversity.
• Monitor and maintain.
— Monitoring restoration sites is critical to determine whether goals are being met. Ideally, restoration projects will eventually achieve a self-sustaining ecosystem without further need for intervention.