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Synthesis of knowledge on faunal recolonization following vegetative restoration

Kennedy, P., Craig, M. and Lach, L. (2009) Synthesis of knowledge on faunal recolonization following vegetative restoration. In: 19th Conference of the Society of Ecological Restoration International, 24 - 26 August, Perth, Western Australia.


Most restoration programs focus on establishing plant communities with the assumption that animals will naturally recolonise these areas, once vegetation has established. Without restoration of animals, which play pivotal roles in most ecosystem functions and processes, the restoration will not likely produce a self-sustaining ecosystem. The animal ecologists in this symposium evaluate this Field of Dreams hypothesis with case studies of invertebrate and vertebrate communities from a wide variety of ecosystems. Their results clearly demonstrate most recently restored sites have lower species richness and abundances relative to reference conditions. Examples of site and landscape factors that influence animal colonisation of restored sites include: 1) restoration technique; 2) site age; 3) degree of isolation from undisturbed habitat; 4) capacity for restored sites to develop structural complexity similar to reference sites; and 5) choice of biodiversity attributes assessed to indicate progress towards recovery. Species that are slow or fail to return to restored areas are typically associated with structural aspects of the ecosystem that do not occur on the restored site, e.g., coarse woody debris, or are no longer present in the landscape. The information presented at this symposium clearly suggests restoration planning should expand its focus on abiotic factors and vegetation to include restoration goals for animals. This will require a clear understanding of the ecological links between flora and fauna at the restoration site as well as incorporating animal communities into monitoring programs.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
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