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Restoration Ecology

Restoration, Rehabilitation, And Replacement

At the species level, the goal of restoration ecology is to develop sustainable populations of target species. At the community level, the goal is to rehabilitate or reconstruct an entire ecosystem, making it as similar as possible to an original natural ecosystem that has become endangered. These desirable goals may not be achievable in some situations, and less lofty aspirations may have to be identified and pursued by restoration ecologists.

If the environment has been permanently degraded, for example, by the massive erosion of soil or the accumulation of persistent pollutants, the only achievable goal for restoration ecology might be to rehabilitate the site to some acceptable ecological condition. This could occur through the development of a community that is reasonably similar to an original type, even though not all native species can be accommodated and there are other important differences in the structure and function of the new ecosystem.

In even more degraded environments, the only attainable goal might be replacement, or the development of some acceptable new ecosystem on the managed site. The criteria for replacement might only be to achieve a stable, self-maintaining ecosystem on the site, using native species wherever possible. This is done to restore some degree of ecological integrity, natural aesthetics, recreational opportunity, and perhaps economically useful productivity such as forest or agricultural products.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Reason to RetrovirusRestoration Ecology - Difficulties Of Ecological Restoration, Restoration, Rehabilitation, And Replacement, Some Successful Examples Of Restoration Ecology