Challenges of Ecological Restoration: Lessons from Forests in Northern Europe

by Andrew Walnum

The degradation of ecosystems around the world continues to occur and an increasingly rapid rate. As a relatively new field of ecology, ecological restoration sometimes struggles to find ways to combat the challenges faced by restoring disturbed ecosystems on a local and global scale. At the latest Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 2010 in Nagoya, Japan), restoring ecosystems was recognized as one of the most important tools for preventing future loss of bio diversity. Although this field has grown rapidly since the 1980s, many developed countries, especially in Northern Europe, are just starting recognize its importance. Several challenges are needed to be overcome in order to protect biodiversity on a large scale. This study uses northern forests in Europe as an example on what can and needs to be done in order to ensure long-term environmental and biodiversity preservation to reach goals set forth by the CBD. Continue reading

Turnover versus Migration: Forest Responses to Climate Change


by Cortland Henderson

Studying fluctuations in biogeography–or the distribution of species and ecosystems–has been an effective alternative to viewing real life effects of climate change in short time scales. Although there is a large volume of research on the biogeography of animals, there is an inadequate amount of study into the change of forests despite vast amounts of data and the ability to check for age distributions, environmental effects or stressors. Zhu et al. (2014) assert that studying forest biogeography is important because species often fulfill different niches dependent on their life stage. Most models of species migration assume that juveniles and adults have the same environmental requirements, but by studying different life stages of trees, these models might prove inaccurate. One untested theory is that as temperature and precipitation increase, juvenile trees will develop rapid growth, increased mortality, and increased recruitment. This study found that forests in the Eastern United States have increased turnover rather than migrating North as a result of climate change suggesting that climate models need to be modified.

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