Browsing All Posts filed under »restoration«

Restoration ecology: are we forgetting top-down control?

June 1, 2016

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Authors of a recent review article argue that restoration ecologists rely heavily on the assumption that natural communities are controlled by bottom-up processes (i.e., the upward transfer of nutrients and energy from plants to animals), but tend to ignore the complementary effects of top-down control by animals on nutrient cycling and the abundance and diversity […]

Advantages of rough wetland designs

June 1, 2016

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In natural wetlands, the unevenness of the ground creates variation in environmental factors such as soil moisture and temperature, and this variability is a positive influence on the range of plant species that are able to colonise the area. As they become established, plants such as sedges and rushes slowly create tussocks, which further increase […]

The dynamics of habitat choice: alien predators stifle amphibian breeding

June 1, 2016

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The way that animals select habitats reflects their need to balance the costs and benefits associated with factors such as food availability and predation risk. Therefore, habitat choices should vary in response to changes in these key factors. As an example, amphibians are expected to continually adjust the relative amounts of time that they spend […]

Green covers improve drainage channels

June 1, 2016

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In urban environments, the ubiquity of impervious surfaces increases rainfall runoff and the risk of flash flooding. These problems can be addressed by widening and deepening drainage canals, but usually at the risk of further habitat degradation. As a result, there ‘s increasing interest in low-impact environmentally-sensitive designs that simultaneously improve flood control and ecosystem […]

How environmentally-damaging are run-of-river hydropower systems?

June 1, 2016

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Hydropower generation typically involves the creation of large dams for the storage and release of water, which can have serious adverse effects on riverine environments. However, growing pressures on governments to meet renewable energy targets have stimulated interest in small-scale hydropower systems, especially run-of-river schemes, which use the flow within a river channel and operate […]

Adding wood to streams: when is it worthwhile?

March 23, 2016

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Placing woody material into waterways with the aim of improving habitat quality is a common stream restoration technique. However, debate continues around the extent to which wood placement actually leads to significant increases in fish abundance. In a wide-ranging literature review, American ecologists note that many researchers reported that the installation of instream structures was […]

Bioengineered riverbanks

March 23, 2016

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Streamside riparian zones support diverse and specialized plant communities and provide animal species with habitat, shelter and migratory opportunities. However, human pressures are such that measures are frequently needed to counter the problem of riverbank erosion. While bank protection has often been approached from a hard civil engineering perspective, there are ecological and aesthetic advantages […]