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TP18 Assessing Ecosystem Services and Benefits
(PAS-1118-217421) Scientific and aesthetic issues in ecological habitat restoration.
Pastorok, R.1, Sampson, J.1, 1 Integral Consulting Inc, Mercer Island, WA, USA
ABSTRACT- Ecological habitat restoration is an emerging field requiring integration of both scientific and aesthetic disciplines. Habitat restoration projects are commonly located within urban or suburban landscapes, where support of human services as well as ecological functions is desirable. Consequently, restoration designs should be developed within the context of a multiobjective planning process that considers landscape context, ecological functions and supporting structures, often competing risks (e.g., invasive species, eutrophication, chemical toxicity), spatial heterogeneity, natural disturbances, and relationship to human communities. Aesthetics as well as ecological function emerge at various spatial scales in environmental systems, from micro-habitat to regional and global levels. In Washington State, the heterogeneity of intertidal landscapes at Tatoosh Island illustrates the influence of natural disturbance regimes in producing dynamic aesthetically pleasing patterns while maintaining macrospecies diversity important for ecological functions. At a regional scale, variation in physical and climatic environments from the Washington State coast to the interior basin produces apparently stable macro-patterns in habitat types across the state. Relationships between pattern and process in ecological systems have been poorly quantified despite the common belief that ecological function or support of human services is related to ecological structure such as habitat fragmentation or species diversity. Sometimes aesthetics are congruent with structural integrity of habitat (e.g., bird species diversity vs. foliage height diversity), but this may not always be the case. Successful restoration of ecological systems requires: 1) a variable design approach; i.e., incorporation of high habitat diversity and variability around a fixed apparently optimal design; 2) a safe-fail approach or planning for failure of supposedly optimal designs, combined with adaptive management; and 3) integration with human communities via aesthetics and environmental stewardship.
Key words: ecological, habitat, restoration
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