Keys to Reserve Management Once a reserve is established, the job has only begun – 4 major factors must be managed to maintain reserve populations: 1. Human visitors 2. Natural disturbances 3. Water regimes 4. Exotic species and overabundant natives
The Olympic Mountain endemics Campanula piperi (bellfiower; upper) and Viola flettii (Flett's violet) occupy rock crevices in the subalpine and alpine zones of the Olympic Mountains. The bellflower is known to be eaten by mountain goats (photos from NPS).
What is ecological restoration? A definition: Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. - Society for Ecological Restoration Primer 2002
Restoration Ecology • restoration ecology – the field of study that provides the scientific background and underpinnings for practical ecological restoration • ideally the restoration will return normal ecosystem function to an area and hopefully the project will also have social or economic value to humans
Mitigation • Mitigation is the alleviation of some process • Mitigation is related to restoration - mitigation is sometimes required when a group wants to develop a wild area such as a wetland and thus destroy the wetland; the group must then agree to build similar habitat somewhere else to replace what is being destroyed
The general process of repairing damaged ecosystems • Restoration - here we attempt to put back exactly what existed in the ecosystem prior to the disturbance • Rehabilitation - here we attempt to put back most of what existed in the ecosystem prior to the disturbance, but we don't try to put everything back • Replacement - no attempt is made to restore what was lost - here we replace the original ecosystem with another one – sometimes reclamation projects fit here • Recovery or neglect - here we allow nature to take its course - depend upon natural processes of seed dispersal and germination to start plants, natural dispersal of animals to repopulate the area • Enhancement - activity designed to improve the ecosystem, even if the change is fairly minimal
When reintroducing animals, we have learned that: 1. larger founder populations are more successful 2. habitat suitability is important 3. increased number and sizes of clutches (litters) enhances success of establishment 4. herbivores are more successfully established than carnivores 5. competing species in an area may prevent successful establishment