The September 2016 issue of Restoration Ecology (Vol. 24, Issue 5) is available online. Featured below are some Editor’s Picks courtesy of Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of Restoration Ecology, Stephen Murphy and Valter Amaral.
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Linkages between unpaved forest roads and streambed sediment: why context matters in directing road restoration
Robert Al-Chokhachy, Tom A. Black, Cameron Thomas, Charles H. Luce, Bruce Rieman, Richard Cissel, Anne Carlson, Shane Hendrickson, Eric K. Archer, and Jeff l. Kershner
This review article reveals that although a conceptual framework linking aquatic ecosystems – streambed sediment in particular – with forest roads exists, little empirical research has been conducted to actually test that framework. The few field studies on this subject show great variability, both within and across landscapes, in terms of the effects of unpaved forest roads on streambed sediment. The empirical data from the field studies show that forest roads can impact the quality of streambed sediments, but that the topographic and geological context (which influence variables like sediment characteristics, erosion rates, etc.) of each system dictates the severity of effects, and must be considered when designing restoration actions.
Response of soil microbial biomass and activity in early restored lands in the northeastern Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Gabriela Martucci do Couto, Nico Eisenhauer, Everson Batista de Oliveira, Simone Cesarz, Ana Licia Patriota Feliciano and Luiz C. Marangon
Here, the authors tested whether land use change from native forest to sugarcane plantation decreases both microbial biomass and activity of soil microbial communities, and how could this be reversed through restoration. Deforestation of Brazilian Atlantic Forest has reduced forest cover to only 12% its former extent, and large-scale practical and effective restoration strategies are desperately needed. Mixed species reforestation resulted in a rapid and positive response from soil microbial biomass and activity, suggesting that this strategy could provide ecosystem services and ecological benefits throughout the system in just 2-3 years following restoration — these results are encouraging in the context of successful large-scale restoration in Brazil.
Incomplete recovery of ecosystem processes after two decades of riparian forest restoration
Virginia Matzek, Shawn Warren and Colleen Fisher
Here, the gap between restored ecosystem structures (that support biodiversity) and restored ecosystem function and services (e.g., nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, pollination), is investigated using a replicated chronosequence (i.e., multiple and independently restored sites that are of the same or similar age) of riparian forests along 161 km of the Sacramento River, California. After two decades, most forest structural components were similar in reforested and remnant forests. Contrastingly, virtually no soil properties (such as belowground carbon and nitrogen accumulations) in restored sites reached equivalence with remnant forests within that timeframe. The authors conclude that measuring and monitoring ecosystem functional traits is essential to ascertain restoration success.