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Ecosystem rehabilitation

, : Ecosystem rehabilitation. Lake & Reservoir Management 15(1): 1-4, March

Restoration of damaged or extirpated aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems has been proposed as one means of meeting Clean Water Act goals, and as a way to reduce further ecological deficits and economic losses. However, restoration means a return to pre-disturbance conditions and relies on historic landscapes or ecosystems as models. It is the most demanding of management paradigms and implies complete re-creation of a system equivalent to the model. Restoration represents the extreme on a continuum of management protocols and is valuable as an ideal. In most cases, it is impractical, uncalled for, or even impossible. Rehabilitation is the repair and replacement of essential ecosystem structures and functions in the context of ecoregional attainability in order to achieve specified objectives. It is analogous to medical rehabilitation and emphasizes return to an achievable resemblance of prior conditions and makes no pretense of accomplishing absolute authenticity. It is a process that many ecologists are doing. It excludes activities solely oriented to human centered needs, such as spraying and cleanups. Damage and loss of freshwater ecosystems are apparent. The consequences are just beginning to be understood. I urge the establishment of ecologically coherent Federal rehabilitation programs.


DOI: 10.1080/07438140509354431

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