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Rebuilding Our Green Infrastructure

Rebuilding Our Green Infrastructure SER EDITORIAL estoration has entered the mainstream of public [B]y 2050 European Union biodiversity and the ecosys- life. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has brought tem services it provides—its natural capital—are protected, Recological restoration to the public’s attention, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity’s intrinsic and there has been much talk of ecological restoration in value and for their essential contribution to human well- political leaders’ public statements, from local councilors being and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic to national presidents. changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided. (p. 4) I have just returned from the seventh SER Europe con- ference in Avignon, France: “Ecological Restoration and These are ambitious but achievable targets that put eco - Sustainable Development—Establishing Links Across Fron- logical restoration at the heart of European policy. What’s tiers,” where methods, restoration ecology concepts, and more, these extend into protecting and enhancing Europe’s projects were widely demonstrated, discussed, and debated. “green infrastructure”—essentially the “natural capital” The meeting was attended by participants from 37 coun - from which ecosystem services flow. They encompass all tries, and more than 250 papers and posters were presented. aspects of land use, be it “wild,” rural, agricultural, or I was fortunate enough to attend a field trip to Mount urban. We still need to identify in a quantifiable way the Ventoux and the surrounding areas in the French South- functional relationships between the amount and type of ern Alps. This is a site in Europe with an early history biodiversity (at a number of scales) and the outcomes for of ecological restoration. Around the mid-1800s, it was regulation, production, and cultural services. Many of the recognized that the heavy use of the mountain slopes, prin- relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem function, cipally for grazing and other agricultural uses, had resulted and therefore services, are likely to be nonlinear—small in significant erosion and problems with sedimentation changes at the margin in biodiversity may result in irre- and surface water quality. Reforestation ensued, and today versible crossing of thresholds, leading to large drops in the area is extensively forested. Of course, some challenges service flows and directly impacting stability, resilience, and remain, but this shows that ecological restoration thinking vulnerability of ecosystems, and therefore society. However, extends further back in time than many might imagine. as amply demonstrated at the Avignon conference, we have The New Forests, planted in the largely cleared landscape the tools and experience to embark on the renewal and of medieval England nearly 900 years ago, were, to a cer- restoration of our green infrastructure—let’s get on with it! tain extent, ecological restoration projects. Importantly, I’d like to finish on a personal note to record my thanks the rights of local people (“commoners”) to use the forest to Mrill Ingram for the sterling work that she has carried are enshrined in law, and the New Forest in Hampshire out during her tenure as Editor of Ecological Restoration; contains extensive areas of lowland habitats that have been I shall miss working with her and wish her the very best lost elsewhere—particularly valley bogs, wet heaths, dry for her new role in researching the collaborations between heaths, and deciduous woodland. Nature and culture are scientists and artists. At the same time, I warmly welcome intimately connected in this way. Steven N. Handel as our new Editor. Steven organized the As exciting was the discussion of the new biodiversity SER annual conference at Rutgers in 1996 and has exten- targets recently adopted by the Council of the European sive experience in restoration research, teaching, and prac- Union (2010), which are particularly impressive as they go tice, particularly in urban and periurban environments. I beyond conservation and biodiversity to include ecosystem am sure that he will bring continued success to the journal. services and restoration: Jim Harris Chair [H]alting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of Society for Ecological Restoration ecosystem services in the EU by 2020,and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution Reference to averting global biodiversity loss. (p. 4) Council of the European Union (Environment). 2010. Biodiversity: Post-2010; EU and global vision and targets Ecological Restoration Vol. 28, No. 4, 2010 and international ABS regime, Council conclusions. Annex ISSN 1522-4740 E-ISSN 1543-4079 7536/10, 15 March 2010. register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/ ©2010 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. en/10/st07/st07536.en10.pdf 404 • December 2010 ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION 28:4 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecological Restoration University of Wisconsin Press

Rebuilding Our Green Infrastructure

Ecological Restoration , Volume 28 (4) – Dec 9, 2010

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University of Wisconsin Press
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1543-4079

Abstract

SER EDITORIAL estoration has entered the mainstream of public [B]y 2050 European Union biodiversity and the ecosys- life. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has brought tem services it provides—its natural capital—are protected, Recological restoration to the public’s attention, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity’s intrinsic and there has been much talk of ecological restoration in value and for their essential contribution to human well- political leaders’ public statements, from local councilors being and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic to national presidents. changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided. (p. 4) I have just returned from the seventh SER Europe con- ference in Avignon, France: “Ecological Restoration and These are ambitious but achievable targets that put eco - Sustainable Development—Establishing Links Across Fron- logical restoration at the heart of European policy. What’s tiers,” where methods, restoration ecology concepts, and more, these extend into protecting and enhancing Europe’s projects were widely demonstrated, discussed, and debated. “green infrastructure”—essentially the “natural capital” The meeting was attended by participants from 37 coun - from which ecosystem services flow. They encompass all tries, and more than 250 papers and posters were presented. aspects of land use, be it “wild,” rural, agricultural, or I was fortunate enough to attend a field trip to Mount urban. We still need to identify in a quantifiable way the Ventoux and the surrounding areas in the French South- functional relationships between the amount and type of ern Alps. This is a site in Europe with an early history biodiversity (at a number of scales) and the outcomes for of ecological restoration. Around the mid-1800s, it was regulation, production, and cultural services. Many of the recognized that the heavy use of the mountain slopes, prin- relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem function, cipally for grazing and other agricultural uses, had resulted and therefore services, are likely to be nonlinear—small in significant erosion and problems with sedimentation changes at the margin in biodiversity may result in irre- and surface water quality. Reforestation ensued, and today versible crossing of thresholds, leading to large drops in the area is extensively forested. Of course, some challenges service flows and directly impacting stability, resilience, and remain, but this shows that ecological restoration thinking vulnerability of ecosystems, and therefore society. However, extends further back in time than many might imagine. as amply demonstrated at the Avignon conference, we have The New Forests, planted in the largely cleared landscape the tools and experience to embark on the renewal and of medieval England nearly 900 years ago, were, to a cer- restoration of our green infrastructure—let’s get on with it! tain extent, ecological restoration projects. Importantly, I’d like to finish on a personal note to record my thanks the rights of local people (“commoners”) to use the forest to Mrill Ingram for the sterling work that she has carried are enshrined in law, and the New Forest in Hampshire out during her tenure as Editor of Ecological Restoration; contains extensive areas of lowland habitats that have been I shall miss working with her and wish her the very best lost elsewhere—particularly valley bogs, wet heaths, dry for her new role in researching the collaborations between heaths, and deciduous woodland. Nature and culture are scientists and artists. At the same time, I warmly welcome intimately connected in this way. Steven N. Handel as our new Editor. Steven organized the As exciting was the discussion of the new biodiversity SER annual conference at Rutgers in 1996 and has exten- targets recently adopted by the Council of the European sive experience in restoration research, teaching, and prac- Union (2010), which are particularly impressive as they go tice, particularly in urban and periurban environments. I beyond conservation and biodiversity to include ecosystem am sure that he will bring continued success to the journal. services and restoration: Jim Harris Chair [H]alting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of Society for Ecological Restoration ecosystem services in the EU by 2020,and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution Reference to averting global biodiversity loss. (p. 4) Council of the European Union (Environment). 2010. Biodiversity: Post-2010; EU and global vision and targets Ecological Restoration Vol. 28, No. 4, 2010 and international ABS regime, Council conclusions. Annex ISSN 1522-4740 E-ISSN 1543-4079 7536/10, 15 March 2010. register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/ ©2010 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. en/10/st07/st07536.en10.pdf 404 • December 2010 ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION 28:4

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Ecological RestorationUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Dec 9, 2010

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