Challenges of ecological restoration: Lessons from forests in northern Europe

Halme, P and Allen, K A and Aunius, A and Bradshaw, R H W and Brumelis, G and Cada, V and Clear, J L and Eriksson, A-M and Hannon, G and Hyyarinen, E and Ikauniece, S and Irsenaite, R and Jonsson, B-G and Junninen, K and Kareksela, S and Komonen, A and Kotiaho, J S and Kouki, J and Kuuluvainen, T and Mazziotta, A and Monkkonen, M and Nyholm, K and Olden, A and Shorohova, E and Strange, N and Toivanen, T and Vanha-Majamaa, I and Wallenius, T and Ylisirnio, A-L and Zin, E (2013) Challenges of ecological restoration: Lessons from forests in northern Europe. Biological Conservation, 167. pp. 248-256. ISSN 0006-3207

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The alarming rate of ecosystem degradation has raised the need for ecological restoration throughout different
biomes and continents. North European forests may appear as one of the least vulnerable ecosystems
from a global perspective, since forest cover is not rapidly decreasing and many ecosystem services
remain at high level. However, extensive areas of northern forests are heavily exploited and have lost a
major part of their biodiversity value. There is a strong requirement to restore these areas towards a more
natural condition in order to meet the targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Several northern
countries are now taking up this challenge by restoring forest biodiversity with increasing intensity. The
ecology and biodiversity of boreal forests are relatively well understood making them a good model for
restoration activities in many other forest ecosystems. Here we introduce northern forests as an ecosystem,
discuss the historical and recent human impact and provide a brief status report on the ecological
restoration projects and research already conducted there. Based on this discussion, we argue that before
any restoration actions commence, the ecology of the target ecosystem should be established with the
need for restoration carefully assessed and the outcome properly monitored. Finally, we identify the most
important challenges that need to be solved in order to carry out efficient restoration with powerful and
long-term positive impacts on biodiversity: coping with unpredictability, maintaining connectivity in
time and space, assessment of functionality, management of conflicting interests and social restrictions
and ensuring adequate funding.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: Published version available at
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Jennifer Clear
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2017 14:00
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 14:00

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