The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Impacts on ecosystems, corrective restoration practices, and prospects for recovery: nine case studies in the continental United States

T. A. Jones
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Forage and Range Research Laboratory, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-6300, USA. Email: thomas.jones@ars.usda.gov

The Rangeland Journal - https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ17021
Submitted: 31 March 2017  Accepted: 30 August 2017   Published online: 6 October 2017

Abstract

Ecological restoration in the United States is growing in terms of the number, size, and diversity of projects. Such efforts are intended to ameliorate past environmental damage and to restore functioning ecosystems that deliver desired levels of ecosystem services. In nine current restoration case studies from across the continental United States, this paper details (1) the impacts of the original disturbance and compounding secondary issues that compel restoration, (2) the corrective practices applied to advance restoration goals, and (3) the prospects for recovery of ecosystem services, including those involving associated animal populations. Ecosystem-altering impacts include flood control (Kissimmee River), flood control and navigation (Atchafalaya Basin), damming for irrigation-water storage (Colorado River) and hydroelectric power (Elwha River), logging and fire suppression (longleaf pine forest), plant invasions that decrease fire-return intervals (Great Basin shrublands, Mojave Desert), nutrient and sediment loading of watersheds (Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River delta), and conversion of natural lands to agriculture (tallgrass prairie). Animal species targeted for recovery include the greater sage-grouse (Great Basin shrublands), the red-cockaded woodpecker (longleaf pine forest), the south-western willow flycatcher (Colorado River and its tributaries), the desert tortoise (Mojave Desert), eight salmonid fish (Elwha River), and the blue crab and eastern oyster (Chesapeake Bay).

Additional keywords: arid rangelands, exotic species, fire ecology, grassland ecosystems, open forest, riparian ecology.


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