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Restoration Ecology, Editor’s Picks

The September 2017 issue of Restoration Ecology (Vol. 25, 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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Making restoration history: reconsidering Aldo Leopold's Arboretum dedication speeches

David A. Greenwood

To many, Aldo Leopold is best known as the author of ‘A Sand County Almanac.’ An ecologist, forester, and environmentalist, Leopold was a pioneer and a visionary, and one of the most influential wildlife ecologist thinkers of the 20th century. He introduced us to the ecological ethic, which replaced the preceding environmental ethic that stressed the need for human dominance. Leopold's 1934 dedication speech at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Madison (USA), is surely among the very first public reasonings on ecological restoration. This Historical Article, explores the mystery of which speech was actually delivered on that day, and, most importantly, the significance and reach of Leopold’s passion for ecological restoration and how it still shapes our relationships with nature.

Plantation age, understory vegetation, and species-specific traits of target seedlings alter the competition and facilitation role of Eucalyptus in South China

Zhongya Sun, Yuhui Huang, Long Yang, Val Schaefer

Competition and facilitation have frequently been considered as two separate aspects of interspecific interactions, but these vectors often occur simultaneously and the balance between the two should be considered when evaluating the structure and function of a community. To provide scientific knowledge in support of the conversion of Chinese Eucalyptus plantation monocultures to mixed forest stands, Sun and colleagues investigate biotic factors that can dictate the competition and facilitation roles of Eucalyptus in enhancing interspecific interactions. They found that Castanopsis fissa may be the most suitable species to use in transitioning mature Eucalyptus plantations, particularly in conjunction with understory removal.

What motivates ecological restoration?

Valerie Hagger, John Dwyer, Kerrie Wilson

Hagger et al. survey over 300 restoration practitioners to ask an important question – why do people do ecological restoration? Their survey is restricted to Australia but the methods are generalizable. The study finds that – not surprisingly – rigorous monitoring was rare, and limited to mostly scientific research projects. It also finds that projects with ecosystem service restoration as a primary motivation were less concerned with ‘pristine’ outcomes compared to those motivated by biodiversity enhancement. This article’s call for better and more explicit objectives and alignment with approaches is important; it will be a challenge to get more practitioners and researchers to listen. 

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