Contribution of genetics to ecological restoration

J.L. Mijangos, C. Pacioni, P.B.S. Spencer, Michael Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems has emerged as a critical tool in the fight to reverse and ameliorate the current loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Approaches derived from different genetic disciplines are extending the theoretical and applied frameworks on which ecological restoration is based. We performed a search of scientific articles and identified 160 articles that employed a genetic approach within a restoration context to shed light on the links between genetics and restoration. These articles were then classified on whether they examined association between genetics and fitness or the application of genetics in demographic studies, and on the way the studies informed restoration practice. Although genetic research in restoration is rapidly growing, we found that studies could make better use of the extensive toolbox developed by applied fields in genetics. Overall, 41% of reviewed studies used genetic information to evaluate or monitor restoration, and 59% provided genetic information to guide prerestoration decision-making processes. Reviewed studies suggest that restoration practitioners often overlook the importance of including genetic aspects within their restoration goals. Even though there is a genetic basis influencing the provision of ecosystem services, few studies explored this relationship. We provide a view of research gaps, future directions and challenges in the genetics of restoration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-37
JournalMolecular Ecology
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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