Overcoming biotic homogenization in ecological restoration
Regional, or gamma, diversity is often lower in restored landscapes compared to reference landscapes due to the selection of few desirable species for planting. Lowered diversity in restored landscapes is leading to overall biotic homogenization which puts ecosystems and humans in a more vulnerable position for adapting to environmental changes.
Conclusions and Takeaways
From the results of a systematic literature review, the authors highlight the various causes of homogenization and provide recommendations for better restoration practices that promote higher diversity. There are different types of homogenization such as a lack of rare, specialized, or endangered species, dominance of certain functional traits, lack of genetic diversity, and more. Homogenization is caused in part by habitat fragmentation and harsh conditions that favor dominant or invasive species to take over a landscape. The authors note that altering certain restoration practices such as using the same species across many restoration sites, propagating from restricted seed sources, and failure to simultaneously restore fungi and fauna with vegetation can aid in avoiding homogenization. However, the authors highlight that further research, policy changes, and careful planning are needed to consider human livelihood are crucial to implementation of better restoration practices.
Overcoming biotic homogenization in ecological restoration. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 2022;37(9):777 - 788. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2022.05.002..