Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

An outcome-based model for predicting recovery pathways in restored ecosystems: The Recovery Cascade Model

Robson, B.J., Mitchell, B.D. and Chester, E.T. (2011) An outcome-based model for predicting recovery pathways in restored ecosystems: The Recovery Cascade Model. Ecological Engineering, 37 (9). pp. 1379-1386.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Restoration is increasingly the focus of ecosystem management. Few conceptual models exist for predicting the consequences of restoration, especially those that predict the stages of recovery following restoration. Existing models focus either on defining endpoints for recovery or on defining ecosystem processes, but often do not identify barriers to recovery or potential negative effects of restoration. We describe a conceptual model that identifies the outcomes of the recovery pathways following flow restoration in rivers: the Recovery Cascade Model. The model identifies six general aspects of recovery following restoration: physical ecosystem change; creation of, or improvement in habitat condition; reconnection of the restored area to adjacent ecosystems; recolonization of the restored area; resumption of ecological processes; re-establishment of biotic interactions and reproduction by colonists in the restored area. These aspects may occur in sequence, such that recovery is blocked by a single barrier. The model accommodates feedback loops and includes strong connections between physical processes and ecosystem processes, but also identifies factors that are important in achieving endpoints such as potential barriers to further recovery. Identification of barriers to recovery enables improved planning to maximise the positive effects of restoration. By focussing on outcomes, the model provides a planning tool for managers that can be adapted for different ecosystems and restoration methods and which can be used to identify the amenities that an ecosystem will deliver at different stages of recovery. Ecosystem recovery is as much about overcoming barriers as it is about restorative actions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Copyright: © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Item Control Page Item Control Page