Submitted to: Bioscience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 9, 2012
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Citation: Jones, T.A. 2013. The development of ecologically appropriate plant materials for restoration applications. Bioscience. 63:211-219. Interpretive Summary: Increasingly, sites targeted for ecological restoration have been greatly modified and qualify as 'novel ecosystems.' When ecosystems have been damaged and ecosystem services have been impaired, ecological restoration should emphasize repair of past damage. Ecologically appropriate plant materials that display ecological fitness on their intended site, compatibility with other members of the plant community, and no invasive tendencies are recommended in these situations. Ecologically appropriate plant materials are not synonymous with local plant materials because, while local material may have residual adaptive value for a modified site, it may no longer be "best" for that site.
Technical Abstract: Restoration targets are increasingly the novel ecosystems that are rapidly becoming the planetary norm. To be effective, ecological restoration should emphasize ecosystem repair of past damage. When that damage is extensive, local genotypes may not be the ones most effective for repair. 'Local has value' is presented as a paradigm for restoration of such systems as a corollary to 'local is best' for systems that have sustained a lesser degree of modification. In many cases, adaptation may be enhanced by augmenting genetic variation and applying artificial selection, particularly in generalist species. Ecologically appropriate plant materials display ecological fitness on their intended site, compatibility with other members of the plant community, and no invasive tendencies. They may address specific environmental challenges, rejuvenate ecosystem function, and improve the delivery of ecosystem services. Furthermore, they may be improved by man over time, thereby serving to ameliorate the increasing environmental challenges of restoration environments.