NRES Departmental Seminar by Dr. Young Choi, professor of biology and coordinator of Environmental Science Program at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana.
Title: Ecological Restoration for the Future Under a Changing Environment
Predictability of the Earth's environment is compounded by the consequences of human activities, such as global climate change, alterations in landscapes and biogeochemical cycles and intercontinental invasion of exotic species. The rapidly changing environment poses a daunting challenge to our contemporary efforts of ecological restoration. Particularly, "targets" of restoration are "moving" to unpredictable paths, and "sustainability" of restored ecosystems is not certain. For this reason, the restoration models that are fitted for the past or current environment would not likely function in the future environment. In recent years, a new paradigm of ecological restoration has been advocated for the future environment - the mindset of ecological restoration should be directed from the past to the future. This presentation will compile five major principles for restoring ecosystems that can be sustainable in the future environment. First, historical information cannot be discarded because it provides crucial guidance for developing the restoration models and goals for the future. However, the historical accounts should not be a straight jacket. A rigid fidelity to the past may lead to a fixed target that is not attainable in the future. Second, goals of restoration need to be flexible and the ranges of the goals need to be widened to shoot "moving targets." The dynamic environment of the nature does not warrant a single and fixed restoration outcome. Third, the flexible and wide ranges of restoration target should embrace novel systems. The future environment will be different from the past and current one, and thus shifts in species compositions and guilds seem inevitable. Fourth, our restoration efforts should focus on rehabilitation of ecosystem functions for the future rather than re-assemblage of floras and faunas of the past. The compositions or guilds of the species in the restored ecosystems need not be identical to the ones in the current and past environment. Finally, ecological redundancy needs to be magnified for diversifying the goals and trajectories of restoration. Each functional group of ecosystems should consist of multiple and numerous species, not a single species. Also, various landscape types need to be repeated and connected. The redundancy connectivity of landscapes can increase total habitat area, allow species migration, and spread risk of failure at lower level.
Speaker's website: http://webs.purduecal.edu/biology/faculty-and-staff/young-d-choi-phd/
Dr. Choi is hosted by Dr. James Miller. If you wish to meet with the speaker, please contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.