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Killing two birds with one stone: Conservation-oriented restoration as a way to restore threatened species and their habitats
- Volis, Sergei
- Plant diversity 2019
- Anthropocene epoch, air quality, biodiversity, conservation areas, ecological restoration, ecosystems, erosion control, habitats, planning, plants (botany), recreation, soil, threatened species
- There is an urgent need for a new conservation approach as mere designation of protected areas, the primary approach to conserving biodiversity, revealed its low conservation efficiency and inability to cope with numerous challenges faced by nature in the Anthropocene. The paper discusses the new concept, which proposes that ecological restoration becomes an integral part of conservation planning and implementation, and is done using threatened plant species that are introduced not only into locations where they currently grow or grew in the recent past, but also into suitable locations within their potential distribution range. This new concept is called conservation-oriented restoration to distinguish it from the traditional restoration. Although the number of restoration projects focusing on recreation of once existing natural habitats is instantly growing, the majority of ecological restoration projects, in contrast to conservation-oriented restoration, have predominantly utilitarian goals, e.g. improvement or air quality, erosion control or soil replenishment. Conservation-oriented restoration should not be seen as an alternative either to the latter, or to the conservation dealing with particular threatened species (species-targeted conservation). These three conservation approaches, traditional ecological restoration, species-targeted conservation, and conservation-oriented restoration differ not only in broadly defined goals and attributes of their targets, but also in the types of ecosystems they are applicable to, and complement each other in combating global deterioration of the environment and biodiversity loss.