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The age of restoration: challenges presented by dryland systems

Svejcar, Lauren N., Kildisheva, Olga A.
Plant ecology 2017 v.218 no.1 pp. 1-6
arid lands, community development, ecological restoration, ecosystems, environmental factors, socioeconomic factors, species recruitment
Intact drylands are highly evolved and complex ecosystems, which allow them to be productive despite harsh environmental conditions. However, drylands are particularly susceptible to degradation, even after minor disturbance events. Conditions for natural plant recruitment in dryland systems are spatially and temporally irregular, which can create challenges for restoration. Large-scale restoration and rehabilitation of dryland ecosystems have become a global concern, prompted by ever-increasing anthropogenic pressure and associated degradation of these natural systems worldwide. The success of plant reestablishment programs in these regions is closely linked to both ecological and socioeconomic opportunities and limitations. This special issue brings together papers that discuss the roles which ecological and socioeconomic factors play in influencing dryland ecosystem restoration outcomes. We aim to (1) highlight the current status of recovery efforts taking place across a range of dryland ecosystems, emphasize advances in the region-specific understanding of plant community development, and (2) provide comparisons between the primary drivers and limitations to restoration that exist across dryland systems.