The relationship between ecological restoration and the ecosystem services concept

Sasha Alexander, J. Aronson, O. Whaley, D. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 by the author(s). Ecological restoration and the mainstreaming of the concept of ecosystem services will be critical if global society is to move toward sustainability. Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and COP12 of the Convention on Biological Diversity should help foster support for vastly increased investment in the better management and restoration of natural capital. Large-scale restoration demonstrably improves ecological functioning to sustain both biodiversity and human well-being. However, much progress is needed to improve the effectiveness and cost efficiency of any restoration. The ecosystem services concept provides a framework for identifying the types of restorative interventions needed to target different forms and degrees of degradation, and achieve goals related to both ecosystem health and delivery of services to people. Moreover, it can strengthen the argument for, and planning of, large-scale restoration and conservation of natural capital. We use case studies from four continents to help demonstrate how the interconnection between ecological restoration and the ecosystem services concept is being utilized in land-use planning and enlightened ecosystem management. We offer ways in which this relationship can be better understood and communicated to support the scaling up of restoration activities to the landscape and regional scales across the full spectrum of land uses and ecosystem types.
Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages9
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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