Processes underlying restoration of temperate savanna and woodland ecosystems: Emerging themes and challenges
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Forest Ecology and Management
Open forests of savanna and woodlands span the spectrum between closed canopy forests and treeless grasslands, and therefore contain structure, composition, and function distinctive from either endpoint. In this special issue, researchers provide examples from different open forest ecosystems to examine the underlying ecological principles and specific management challenges affecting successful restoration of these systems. Emergent themes include the role of open forest systems for biodiversity, fire as an underlying process, and the similarities and differences in ecosystem restoration goals under different ecological and social contexts. Consistent challenges include effective application of fire, the commonly observed pattern of "mesophication" that occurs in the absence of fire (including woody densification and changes to belowground processes) and the distinction between structural restoration and compositional restoration – where the former is necessary but not sufficient to restore the latter. Given the uncertainty of ecosystems increasingly stressed by human activity, the restoration of open forests should be among the suite of options considered given both their historic prevalence and current benefits to ecosystem services and biodiversity.
KeywordsBiodiversity Ecosystem services Mesophication Open forests Pinus Prescribed fire Quercus Silviculture
Sturtevant, Brian R.; Hanberry, Brice B. 2021. Processes underlying restoration of temperate savanna and woodland ecosystems: Emerging themes and challenges. Forest Ecology and Management. 481: 118681. 4 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118681.