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To develop the following abstracts, the editorial staff searches more than 100 scientific journals, professional and organizational newsletters, conference proceedings, and other resources for information relevant to ecological restoration practice and research. Please send suggested abstract sources to the editorial staff (


Duck Productivity in Restored Species-rich Native and Species-poor Non-native Plantings. 2013. Haffele, R.D. (South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Chamberlain, South Dakota, USA,, M.W. Eichholz and C.S. Dixon. PLoS One 8(7): e68603.

In the Prairie Pothole Region of North America, the conventional method of enhancing grassland nesting duck populations in the face of native prairie habitat loss has been to plant former crop fields with cool season vegetation, termed dense nesting cover (DNC). However, productivity of ducks remains low and the diversity of grassland organisms in DNC areas is typically less than in areas of native prairie vegetation. DNC also requires significant management and therefore does not meet the restoration goal of a self-sustaining ecosystem. Haffele and colleagues assessed the duck habitat value of fields seeded with a greater number of native species than had been previously used in native grassland restoration. No significant difference in the density of nesting ducks was found between DNC sites and native species-rich restoration sites, but nest survival declined more steeply in the native vegetation sites late in the nesting season. The authors conclude that additional research is needed to optimize restored native grasslands for duck habitat.


Early Recruitment Dynamics in Tropical Restoration. 2013. De La Peña-Domene, M., C. Martinez-Garza and H.F. Howe (Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago (m/c 066), Chicago, Illinois 60607, USA, Ecological Applications 23(5):1124–1134.

Deforestation and fragmentation of tropical forests threatens native biodiversity and heightens the importance of accelerated forest restoration on abandoned lands. The majority of tropical rain forest trees and shrubs are animal-dispersed, but abandoned pastures are mostly colonized by wind-dispersed species due to lack of animal activity in these denuded landscapes. In this study, De La Peña-Domene and colleagues tested woody vegetation recruitment in recently abandoned pasture plots protected from cattle graze and either left to natural secondary succession or planted with native trees (assisted succession). Plots planted with native trees provided heterogeneous habitat conditions and recruited more later-successional animal-dispersed species from surrounding forest areas. The authors recommend planting fruit-bearing trees of high value to long-distance animal dispersers to accelerate tropical forest succession on sites far from extant forest areas.

Does Restoration Help the Conservation of the Threatened Forest of Robinson Crusoe Island? The Impact of Forest Gap Attributes on Endemic Plant Species Richness and Exotic Invasions. Vargas, R. (Institute of Forest Sciences, Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany,, S. Gärtner, M. Alvarez, E. Hagen and A. Reif. Biodiversity and Conservation 22:1283–1300.

Robinson Crusoe Island (RCI) has the highest number of endemic species per unit area of any island in the world, but more than 65% of vascular plant species on the island are not native. In this study, Vargas and colleagues looked at native and exotic species dynamics in tree-fall canopy gaps in RCI’s montane forest ecosystem. Forest canopy gaps are important for maintenance of forest species richness, but can also facilitate invasion of exotic species. A greater proportion of native species was found in smaller gaps than in larger gaps, and newer gaps had higher native species richness than older gaps. Additionally, of 46 native species, only seven were found in invaded gaps. Native endemic species began to slowly recover after invasive removal, but these treated gaps still had more exotic species than uninvaded gaps several years later. The authors recommend focusing native plant species conservation efforts on new and smaller canopy gaps. [End Page 419]


Detecting Restoration Impacts in Inter-connected Habitats: Spring Invertebrate Communities in a Restored Wetland. 2013. Ilmonen, J. (Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Environment Centre, Helsinki, Finland,, R. Virtanen, L. Paasivirta and T. Muotka. Ecological Indicators 30:165–169.

Ecological restoration can have significant impacts...


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