Merino, A., Doni, S., Evelpidou, N., Ferreira, T., García-Arias, A. I., Masciandaro, G., Rodríguez-González, P. M. (Eds.) (2019). Best practices in evaluation and restoration of degraded mediterranean environments. Monografías do Ibader - Serie Territorio. Ibader. Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. Lugo.
Let’s face it. There is no way to restore an ecosystem, not to mention an entire landscape. The amazing diversity of organisms contained in an ecosystem, even the tiniest one, and the variety of the interactions needed to generate so many functions should be regarded as a unique wonder. As ecological restoration progresses, we are increasingly convinced that it can never substitute protection and conservation.
Ecosystem’s complexity is so overwhelming, that we need to cut them into pieces before we can try to understand it. Not surprisingly, when it is time for rebuilding, we focus on dominant, key, charismatic species, hoping that the many bolts and nuts that are left aside will spontaneously join a machine that will run finely.
Furthermore, we want the ecosystem recovered in a legislative period or a few decades, disregarding the increasing amount of evidence showing that the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances can be detected after millennia of secondary succession.
Ecological restoration is about speed and acceleration, thus assuming that tempo is not an integral part of ecological processes. We use large amounts of exogenous energy in the form of fertilizers, organic amendments, physical structures, geomorphic profiling, seed banks, machinery, nurseries and labor to summarize a process that may last for centuries into a few years or decades. While doing this, we forget that biodiversity is inversely related to energy flow (d2B/dt2 = –dD/dt, where B is biomass, D is diversity and t is time, as Margalef (1968) suggested). Clearly, more studies are needed to understand the relationship between energy inputs, community assemblage and ecosystem function, that is, between resources committed and restoration success.
Agustín Merino, Serena Doni, Niki Evelpidou, Teresa Ferreira, Ana I. García-Arias, Grazia Masciandaro, Patricia M. Rodríguez-González (Eds).
Best practices in evaluation and restoration of degraded mediterranean environments
Edita: IBADER. Instituto de Biodiversidade Agraria e Desenvolvemento Rural. Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Universitario s/n. E-27002 Lugo, Galicia.
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