Spatially designed revegetation: why the spatial arrangement of plants should be as important to revegetation as they are to natural systems

Kimberly P. McCallum, Andrew J. Lowe, Martin F. Breed, David C. Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The spatial arrangements of plants, both within and between species, play a key role in natural systems and influence many fundamental ecological processes (e.g. survival, competition, facilitation, pollination, and seed dispersal) and ecosystem functions (e.g. habitat value, erosion, water, and nutrient capture). Despite this knowledge, fine-scale planting arrangements are rarely considered during restoration plantings, yet manipulation of planting designs has the potential to aid the development of resilient and self-sustaining ecosystems. Here, we outline how the spatial arrangement of plants can influence processes both at the vegetation level and more broadly at the ecosystem level. The review is focused on woodland systems, but also draws on key examples from grassland ecosystems. Following this synthesis, we identify research gaps in the revegetation literature that could usefully be addressed to help develop this understudied field of research. Finally, we outline components of population and community level arrangements (e.g. spacing, aggregation, community composition) that can be considered during restoration plantings—spatially designed revegetation—which are likely to lead to improved ecological outcomes of woodland and grassy woodland revegetation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-455
Number of pages10
JournalRESTORATION ECOLOGY
Volume26
Issue number3
Early online date14 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ecosystem function
  • grassland
  • plant spatial pattern
  • planting position
  • restoration
  • woodland

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