The University of Arizona

Repairing Ecological Processes to Direct Ecosystem State Changes

Thomas A. Monaco, Chris Call, Merilynn C. Hirsch, Beth Fowers

Abstract


Ensuring that rangelands provide a rich array of eco- logical services into the future will require enduring efforts from research and management profession- als. This responsibility is particularly important for those charged with repairing lands impacted by invasive plant species, where attaining success is both dif cult and expen- sive. When ecosystems exist in a degraded invaded state, re- storing them to a preexisting state is not likely if foundational ecosystem attributes such as soil and site stability, hydrologic function, and biotic integrity have been drastically altered. It is important for land managers to determine the ecological status of a site prior to implementing restoration treatments. This process-based approach is taking precedence over one- sided emphasis on targeting a certain plant community com- position because it provides a clear linkage between measur- able ecological indicators and ecosystem services sought by a diverse group of stakeholders.1 Consequently, management efforts that seek to repair damaged processes or reestablish missing processes must  rst understand feedback mecha- nisms operating within an invaded ecosystem state prior to applying restoration strategies.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rangelands_v34i6_monaco


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