Abstract Common practices for invasive species control and management include physical, chemical, and biological approaches. The first two approaches have clear limitations and may lead to unintended (negative) consequences, unless carefully planned and implemented. For example, physical removal rarely completely eradicates the targeted invasive species and can cause disturbances that facilitate new invasions by nonnative species from nearby habitats. Chemical treatments can harm native, and especially rare, species through unanticipated side effects. Biological methods may be classified as biocontrol and the ecological approach. Similar to physical and chemical methods, biocontrol also has limitations and sometimes leads to unintended consequences. Therefore, a relatively safer and more practical choice may be the ecological approach, which has two major components: (1) restoration of native species and (2) biomass manipulation of the restored community, such as selective grazing or prescribed burning (to achieve and maintain viable population sizes). Restoration requires well-planned and implemented planting designs that consider alpha-, beta-, and gamma-diversity and the abundance of native and invasive component species at local, landscape, and regional levels. Given the extensive destruction or degradation of natural habitats around the world, restoration could be most effective for enhancing ecosystem resilience and resistance to biotic invasions. At themore »
Optimal Planting Distance in a Simple Model of Habitat Restoration With an Allee Effect
Ecological restoration is emerging as an important strategy to improve the recovery of degraded lands and to combat habitat and biodiversity loss worldwide. One central unresolved question revolves around the optimal spatial design for outplanted propagules that maximizes restoration success. Essentially, two contrasting paradigms exist: the first aims to plant propagules in dispersed arrangements to minimize competitive interactions. In contrast, ecological theory and recent field experiments emphasize the importance of positive species interactions, suggesting instead clumped planting configurations. However, planting too many propagules too closely is likely to waste restoration resources as larger clumps have less edges and have relatively lower spread rates. Thus, given the constraint of limited restoration efforts, there should be an optimal planting distance that both is able to harness positive species interactions but at the same time maximizes spread in the treated area. To explore these ideas, here we propose a simple mathematical model that tests the influence of positive species interactions on the optimal design of restoration efforts. We model the growth and spatial spread of a population starting from different initial conditions that represent either clumped or dispersed configurations of planted habitat patches in bare substrate. We measure the spatio-temporal development of the more »
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- Frontiers in Marine Science
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- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Restoration is becoming a vital tool to counteract coastal ecosystem degradation. Modifying transplant designs of habitat-forming organisms from dispersed to clumped can amplify coastal restoration yields as it generates self-facilitation from emergent traits, i.e. traits not expressed by individuals or small clones, but that emerge in clumped individuals or large clones. Here, we advance restoration science by mimicking key emergent traits that locally suppress physical stress using biodegradable establishment structures. Experiments across (sub)tropical and temperate seagrass and salt marsh systems demonstrate greatly enhanced yields when individuals are transplanted within structures mimicking emergent traits that suppress waves or sediment mobility. Specifically, belowground mimics of dense root mats most facilitate seagrasses via sediment stabilization, while mimics of aboveground plant structures most facilitate marsh grasses by reducing stem movement. Mimicking key emergent traits may allow upscaling of restoration in many ecosystems that depend on self-facilitation for persistence, by constraining biological material requirements and implementation costs.
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Phosphorus availability and leaching losses in annual and perennial cropping systems in an upper US Midwest landscape
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