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Drivers of seedling establishment success in dryland restoration efforts


Shackelford, N and Paterno, GB and Winkler, DE and Erickson, TE and Leger, EA and Svejcar, LN and Breed, MF and Faist, AM and Harrison, PA and Curran, MF and Guo, Q and Kirmer, A and Law, DJ and Mganga, KZ and Munson, SM and Porensky, LM and Quiroga, RE and Torok, P and Wainwright, CE and Abdullahi, A and Bahm, MA and Ballenger, EA and Barger, N and Baughman, OW and Becker, C and Lucas-Borja, ME and Boyd, CS and Burton, CM and Burton, PJ and Calleja, E and Carrick, PJ and Caruana, A and Clements, CD and Davies, KW and Deak, B and Drake, J and Dullau, S and Eldridge, J and Espeland, E and Farrell, HL and Fick, SE and Garbowski, M and de la Riva, EG and Golos, PJ and Grey, PA and Heydenrych, B and Holmes, PM and James, JJ and Jonas-Bratten, J and Kiss, R and Kramer, AT and Larson, JE and Lorite, J and Mayence, CE and Merino-Martin, L and Migllecz, T and Milton, SJ and Monaco, TA and Montalvo, AM and Navarro-Cano, JA and Paschke, MW and Peri, PL and Pokorny, ML and Rinella, MJ and Saayman, N and Schantz, MC and Parkhurst, T and Seabloom, EW and Stuble, KL and Uselman, SM and ValkA, O and Veblen, K and Wilson, S and Wong, M and Xu, Z and Suding, KL, Drivers of seedling establishment success in dryland restoration efforts, Nature Ecology and Evolution, 5, (9) pp. 1283-1290. ISSN 2397-334X (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41559-021-01510-3


Restoration of degraded drylands is urgently needed to mitigate climate change, reverse desertification and secure livelihoods for the two billion people who live in these areas. Bold global targets have been set for dryland restoration to restore millions of hectares of degraded land. These targets have been questioned as overly ambitious, but without a global evaluation of successes and failures it is impossible to gauge feasibility. Here we examine restoration seeding outcomes across 174 sites on six continents, encompassing 594,065 observations of 671 plant species. Our findings suggest reasons for optimism. Seeding had a positive impact on species presence: in almost a third of all treatments, 100% of species seeded were growing at first monitoring. However, dryland restoration is risky: 17% of projects failed, with no establishment of any seeded species, and consistent declines were found in seeded species as projects matured. Across projects, higher seeding rates and larger seed sizes resulted in a greater probability of recruitment, with further influences on species success including site aridity, taxonomic identity and species life form. Our findings suggest that investigations examining these predictive factors will yield more effective and informed restoration decision-making.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Perennial grasses, Plant, vegetation, ecology, forbs, fire
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Ecosystem adaptation to climate change
UTAS Author:Harrison, PA (Dr Peter Harrison)
ID Code:152893
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:27
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2022-08-26
Last Modified:2022-09-29

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