Research Topic

Advancing Restoration Ecology: Strengthening the Link Between Researchers and Practitioners

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About this Research Topic

Our theme is a critical examination of the success of the field of animal ecology in developing and transferring knowledge for practical application in ecological restoration. Because the growing field of restoration ecology (and the application focus of ecological restoration) is a primary way in which ...

Our theme is a critical examination of the success of the field of animal ecology in developing and transferring knowledge for practical application in ecological restoration. Because the growing field of restoration ecology (and the application focus of ecological restoration) is a primary way in which ecological data are turned into practical applications, it is essential that ecologists are conducting rigorous studies that lead to unambiguous management recommendations. We argue that this is seldom the case. Because environments are being continually impacted by natural and human-induced changes, there is an increasing need to strengthen the ability of researchers to translate their work into practical applications. Major topics and issues to be addressed are:

1. Monitoring of the impacts of restoration is minimal or missing altogether for most projects, resulting in the squandering of billions of dollars. Examples include river restoration in the USA and tree plantings in Australia.
2. Scientists do not engage in communication and outreach, which means land managers are isolated and do not get the guidance they need.
3. A large gulf exists between pure and applied ecology, which means that theory does not underpin strong applied work, and theoretical work is completed in a vacuum.
4. Ecologists have not worked closely enough with statisticians - so their designs are problematic - and weakened as a result.
5. Ecological concepts and the associated terminology are used incorrectly, which leads to failure to properly design and implement viable restoration plans, including especially those focused on animal populations.

Because our goal is to present papers that merge basic and applied research, all contributors will consider both the fundamental and associated practical implications of their work. Articles will not be focused on the presentation of new research findings per se (although examples will be used as case studies), but rather a critical examination of the topic and specific guidance for advancing the link between research and application. The papers presented in this project will thus have broad applications to all corners of the world. Potential authors we have identified come from multiple nations, which will broaden the readership of our section.


Keywords: restoration ecology, scientific communication, land management, animal ecology, monitoring


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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