skip to main content

Title: Metacommunity theory meets restoration: isolation may mediate how ecological communities respond to stream restoration
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ecological Applications
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2209 to 2219
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Deforestation drives climate change and reinforces food insecurity in forest dependent communities. What drives deforestation varies by location and is shaped by livelihood systems. But how locals perceive restoration is crucial for developing restoration policies. Evidence suggests that applying sustainable farming strategies can potentially restore forests and sustain livelihoods. Applying a broad-based conceptualization of deforestation and restoration in policymaking, however, results in missed opportunities for addressing deforestation and restoration. Here, we explore the drivers of deforestation, the perceptions of restoration, and the challenges to restoration among smallholder farmers in northern Malawi and examine how agroecology can contribute to restoring degraded agroecosystems. Participants report agricultural land expansion, charcoal production, climate change, burnt brick production, and government subsidies as the major drivers of deforestation. We observed that although perceptions of forest restoration reflect farmers' traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to include reclamation of degraded farmlands, reconstruction of native tree species, and replacement of felled trees on farmlands, there are challenges including splitting families to gain access to more subsidized fertilizers and food aid, embedded cultural practices, growing demand for charcoal in cities, and weak ecosystem governance structures that hinder the effectiveness of restoration efforts. We, however, do find that agroecological intensification can increase yield from smaller farmlands and allow for larger and longer-lasting fallows of spare lands which regenerate forests. Key overarching implications of these findings include the need to integrate livelihoods more explicitly into restoration plans, accounting for TEK in restoration policies in forest-dependent communities and encouraging the adoption of agroecology. 
    more » « less
  2. Restoration Ecologyhas persisted for 25 years, but how long do restored ecosystems persist? Why do some restored ecosystems continue to accrue biodiversity and provide ecosystem services for decades or centuries while others are rapidly converted to alternative land uses? And how can we enhance the persistence of restored ecosystems? Answering these three big, temporal questions will amplify the lifetime benefits of ecological restoration.

    more » « less