Ecological Restoration in International Environmental Law (2017)

Authors: Telesetsky, A., Cliquet, A. &  Akhtar-Khavari, A.
Publisher: Routledge
Series: Routledge Research in International Environmental Law
318 pages
ISBN: 9781138796836

This is the first published book to examine comprehensively the relationship between international environmental law and ecological restoration. While international environmental law (IEL) has developed significantly as a discipline over the past four decades, this book enquires whether IEL can now assist States in making a strategic transition from not just protecting and maintaining the natural environment but also actively restoring it.  Arguing that States have international duties to restore, this book offers reflections on the legal content of a duty to restore from an international law, European Union law and national law perspective.  The book concludes with a discussion of several contemporary themes of interest to both lawyers and ecologists including the role of private actors, protected areas, and climate change in ecological restoration.

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Peatland Restoration and Ecosystem Services: Science, Policy and Practice (2016)

Editors: Aletta Bonn, Tim Allott, Martin Evans, Hans Joosten, Rob Stoneman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
493 pages, 92 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 36 tables
ISBN: 9781139177788

Peatlands provide globally important ecosystem services through climate and water regulation or biodiversity conservation. While covering only 3% of the earth’s surface, degrading peatlands are responsible for nearly a quarter of carbon emissions from the land use sector. Bringing together world-class experts from science, policy and practice to highlight and debate the importance of peatlands from an ecological, social and economic perspective, this book focuses on how peatland restoration can foster climate change mitigation. Featuring a range of global case studies, opportunities for reclamation and sustainable management are illustrated throughout against the challenges faced by conservation biologists. Written for a global audience of environmental scientists, practitioners and policy makers, as well as graduate students from natural and social sciences, this interdisciplinary book provides vital pointers towards managing peatland conservation in a changing environment.

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Floodplain Meadows – Beauty and Utility: A Technical Handbook (2016)

Publisher: NatureBureau
Authors: Emma Rothero, Sophie Lake, David Gowing (Eds)
104 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations, tablesFloodplain meadows
Price: £12.50 $18/€16
ISBN-13: 9781473020665
You can order here or download here

A brand new handbook on species-rich floodplain meadows. Comprehensive and beautifully illustrated, the handbook covers everything you need to know about the history, management, restoration and creation of this vitally important, yet threatened, habitat. Once very widespread, these iconic sites now occupy less than 1,500 ha in the UK. Floodplain meadows are both part of our heritage and inspirational wildlife habitats. They support a diversity of plant species rarely seen elsewhere, offering a home for a wealth of wildlife including birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. They are the product of a long agricultural tradition of managing floodplains to produce a valuable crop, and thereby provide a rich seam of rural history to explore.

Floodplain meadows require no artificial fertilisers yet remain productive during droughts and recover rapidly after floods. In addition, they supply many additional benefits to society for free, including storage and cleansing of floodwaters, sequestration of carbon and a very aesthetic contribution to the landscape. Mindful of the frequency of extreme flood events that have affected Britain in the period 2000–2015, encouraging resilient agricultural systems that can accommodate flood storage, yet bounce back to provide a crop that delivers both biodiversity and an economic return, is becoming an increasingly important priority.

Floodplain Meadows is aimed at anyone managing, restoring, or re-creating floodplain meadows, and those with a general interest in rural history and how it has influenced the floodplain wildlife we have today.

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Lakes, Loughs and Lochs (2015)

New book in the Series of New Naturalist Series Volume: 128
Author: Brian Moss
452 pages, 205 colour photos, colour illustrations and colour maps; 20 tables
Price: £34.99 $51/€44 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780007511396
You can order here

The study of life in British lakes and rivers has been traditionally neglected in natural history publications, and yet the intricacies of plant and animal ecology as a whole can be readily studied in a pond or lake. Not since Macan and Worthington’s landmark publication in 1951, Life in Lakes and Rivers – volume 15 in the New Naturalist series – has there been a comprehensive overview of British freshwater life. In Brian Moss’s much-anticipated new volume, he gives a passionate account of the natural history of our lakes, loughs and lochs. More than 50 pages of the book are dedicated to damage and restoration of lakes on the British Isles.Lakes, Loughs and Lochs

Our understanding of lakes has changed enormously since the days of Macan and Worthington. From new techniques using stable isotopes and molecular biology to ambitious approaches using whole lakes for experiments; from advances in chemical methods that detect tiny traces of organic substances to the development of new electronic instruments, it is becoming increasingly urgent to make use of these advances to help maintain and conserve some of the most damaged of the Earth’s ecosystems.

Freshwaters form the fascinating threads that stitch together the landscapes of our planet with a myriad of exchanges involving an array of organisms, from algae and insects to hippopotami and otters. Healthy lakes and their shores influence our quality of life and they strengthen the economy. They are important ecosystems that can sustain a healthy balance of aquatic life, provide us with much enjoyment, and help support our socio-economic needs. At the same time they suffer the consequences of human abuses of the land – increasing urbanisation, intensive farming, drainage and an increasing invasion of non-native species, to name but a few. Moss explores the richness of their fundamental ecology, emphasizing the need to view these freshwater systems as a whole, and not to manage or assess them in isolation, as well as the importance of ongoing conservation efforts.

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Grassland Restoration and Management (2016)

New book in the series of Conservation Handbooks
Authors: David Blakesley & Peter Buckley
277 pages, colour photos, b/w illustrations, tables
Price: £34.99 $50/€44 approx (paperback); £59.99 $85/€75 approx (hardback)
ISBN-13: 9781784270780
You can order here

Following the destruction of 95% of meadows during the twentieth century, there is an urgent need to understand what little unspoiled habitat remains in order to plan the management and restoration of existing sites, as well as re-creating future grassland habitats. Grassland Restoration and Management is a much-needed guide to grassland restoration and management.

Providing a thorough overview of recent research on grassland restoration and its implications for practical grassland restoration and management, it introduces grassland communities and the wildlife they support, including examples of species of conservation concern, and considers the management of semi-natural grassland habitats with par2016-04-15_19-53-10ticular emphasis on drier grassland habitats.

Chapters cover:
– Grassland character and communities
– Introduction to grassland wildlife
– Managing semi-natural grassland
– Grassland restoration – threats and challenges
– Opportunities in grassland restoration
– Plant material for grassland restoration
– Defining success in grassland restoration

A variety of management techniques are examined, including soil amendment, cultivation, harvesting and maintenance in creating suitable conditions for the successful restoration of species-rich grasslands.

It is essential reading for conservationists, site owners or managers, practitioners, conservation organizations and students of ecological restoration with an interest in the creation of new grassland habitats, the restoration of semi-natural grassland, as well as the continuing management of semi-natural (unimproved) grassland communities.

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EU Publication: ecosystem services and biodiversity (2015)

Authors: European CommissionDirectorate-General for the EnvironmentES and Biodiversity
32 pages, colour photos, tables
Price: free
ISBN: 978-92-79-45725-8
You can order here

Ecosystems provide a multitude of benefits to humanity, from food, clean water and flood protection to cultural heritage and a sense of place, to name but a few. However, many of these benefits, known as ‘ecosystem services’, are under severe threat from man-made pressures. Decision makers need clear information on how biodiversity underpins these services, the demand for them, the capacity of ecosystems to provide them and the pressures impairing that capacity. In this report we explore four core facets of the ecosystem services concept: the links between biodiversity and ecosystem services; current techniques for mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services; valuation of ecosystem services and the importance of considering all ecosystem services and biodiversity as part of an interconnected system

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Ecological restoration in drained peatlands – best practices from Finland (2014)

Edited by Similä Maarit, Aapala Kaisu, Penttinen Jouni  (2014)ecolres-peatlands_2014_cover

Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services and Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, 84 pages
ISBN  978-952-295-073-4
Free for download as pdf: ecolres-peatlands-1 (6.4 MB) & ecolres-peatlands-2 (5.3 MB)

A new comprehensive handbook for the restoration of drained peatlands was published in Finnish in July 2013 (Aapala et al. 2013). The handbook was produced with the help of dozens of Finnish peatland experts. It compiles the knowhow accumulated over more than 25 years of peatland habitat restoration in Finland, together with useful background ecological information on peat and the hydrology of peatlands.

The handbook was primarily written on the basis of experiences gained from restoring peatland sites in protected areas. Our aim is to increase awareness of the ecological bases for peatland habitat restoration, and thereby promote effective peatland restoration work both inside protected areas and in areas where commercially forestry is practised. The handbook is intended for everyone involved in the planning and implementation of active restoration measures in peatlands that have been drained to promote forestry.

The production of the handbook was coordinated by the Finnish Expert Group for Peatland Restoration in connection with the Boreal Peatland LIFE project and the Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO, with funding from the Ministry of the Environment.

This abridged English-language version of the guidebook summarises the most important contents of the full Finnish version. The publication of the English version was financed through the Boreal Peatland LIFE project.

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Economy and ecology of heathlands book heathlands

Edited by W. Herbert Diemont , Wim J.M. Heijman, Henk Siepel and Nigel R. Webb (2013)
KNNV Publishing, 462 pages
ISBN 9789050114615
Price:  € 59,95

Heathlands in Europe have been associated with habitats dominated by dwarf shrubs, which have been much more widespread in the past than nowadays. They included grassland and even forests used for grazing and collecting organic debris. Heathlands were, the so called “outfields” of mixed farming systems. They  once covered millions of hectares across the Atlantic parts of Europe, where poor soil conditions allowed only 10 % of the area to be used as infields i.e. arable land for cereals and other staple foods. The book provides an overview how the steepest and most poor sandy outfields  across Europe became plantation forest when farming was no longer profitable. Nevertheless, large stretches of heathlands continued to exist under extensive cattle and sheep grazing in the mountainous part of Europe. In the lowlands ,however, heathlands were ‘reclaimed’ into arable fields by drainage and an introduction of chemical fertilizers. Heathlands became a scarce commodity, which is now being restored as to fulfill the new demands for amenity and nature areas in Europe. Different forms of land use and multiple ecosystem services of heathlands are presented in the book reflecting different economic realities. The book provides also an insight how intensification of farming started out of necessity in densely populated lowlands. Ultimately the economy has reached a stage, where not only farm labor but also land is no longer limiting food production. This provides new opportunities to reconcile farming and the provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services associated with heathlands. As long as additional income to extensive farming is available these ecosystem services can be provided. It is also anticipated that  extensive dairy farming and husbandry may again provide sufficient farm income and secure biodiversity and associated ecosystem services to society for free. The preface by prof. Cees Veerman (Netherlands) and Prof. Arlindo (Portugal), both former ministers of agriculture, underlines the options for reconciliation of farming and nature conservation in Europe by making use of the new Common Agricultural Policy & Natura 2000.

Restoration of land resources in order to accommodate extensive farming systems and for recovery of heathlands has been proved not easy under conditions, where atmospheric nitrogen pollution is still a problem. On the other hand, the restoration efforts so far may cause depletion of phosphorus resources, negatively  affecting fauna diversity. Various restoration and management methods are discussed in depth in the book, together with the examples of implementation in projects and experimental studies.

More than 40 authors from 9 countries gave an exceptionally broad perspective on the ecology of heathlands, links between economical use and existence of these habitats and views on the sustainable land management in future. A ‘must read’ book for all, who are involved in conservation and management of heathlands!

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Calcareous Mires of Slovakia

Calcareous Mires of Slovakia

Landscape Setting, Management and Restoration Prospects

Edited by Ab Grootjans, Viera Sefferova & André Jansen (2013)
KNNV Publishing, 110 pages
ISBN 9789050114417
Price: € 49,95

Slovakia is blessed with an abundance of natural beauties, and some of them are quite unique within Europe. Calcareous fens, which are peat and travertine (CaCO3) depositing wetlands are such rare ecosystems and in Slovakia they are located almost exclusively in the Western Carpathian Mountains. Calcareous fens are hot spots of biodiversity and some protected and almost untouched sites are discussed in Calcareous Mires of Slovakia. Such reference areas are unique natural archives, and are very suitable for studying their past development and history. An international team of peatland scientists tried to unravel the hydrological and geochemical processes behind the development of calcareous fens and identify the dangers of human interventions in the landscape. The interdisciplinary approach used in these studies include historical development, ecology, geology and hydrology. We believe it can be inspirational for colleagues in other countries to study and understand the hydrological systems, including threatened wetland types and to propose efficient restoration measures. Through Calcareous Mires of Slovakia, the authors wish to make a contribution to peatland preservation and more effective conservation.

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Restoration Ecology: The New Frontier (2012)196040

Editors: Jelte van Andel & James Aronson
Wiley-Blackwell, 381 pages, 8 colour plates, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables
Price: £49.95 $71/€63 approx (paperback); £99.99 $142/€126 approx (hardback)
ISBN-13: 9781444336368
You can order here

Enlarged, enhanced and internationalized edition of the first restoration ecology textbook to be published. Since 2006, when the first edition of Restoration Ecology appeared, major advances have taken place in restoration science and in the practice of ecological restoration. Both are now accepted as key components of the increasingly urgent search for sustainability at global, national, and community levels – hence the phrase “New Frontier” in the title.

While the first edition focused on ecosystems and landscapes in Europe, this new edition covers biomes and contexts all over the world. Several new chapters deal with broad issues such as biological invasions, climate change, and agricultural land abandonment as they relate to restoration science and ecological restoration. Case studies are included from Australia, North America, and the tropics.

This is an accessible textbook for senior undergraduate and graduate level students, and early career scientists. Restoration Ecology also provides a solid scientific background for managers, volunteers, and mid-career professionals involved in the practice of ecological restoration.

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near-natural restoration of mining sites in CzRepublic

Near-natural restoration vs. technical reclamation of mining sites in the Czech Republic.

Edited by Klára Řehounková, Jiří Řehounek & Karel Prach (2011)
Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, 111 pages
ISBN 978-80-7394-322-6

This report summarizes knowledge about restoration methods used in various  post-mining sites within the Czech Republic. It is the result of a workshop organized by the Calla NGO and the Working Group for Restoration Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice.  Download the report as pdf here

Summary

In reclamation, it is desired to re-establish the landscape corresponding to that before mining. An exception is for mines scheduled for inundation, where anthropogenic lakes are created. Czech legislation provides relatively powerful laws restricting the loss of land used for agriculture and forestry; hence re-establishment of forest and agricultural land is mainly desired by the authorities. Unfortunately, strict application of these technical reclamations leads in many cases to the destruction of valuable habitats or the eradication of rare and endangered species, which is often in conflict with nature protection laws. Moreover, productivity of such newly created meadows, arable fields, or forests is in most cases low and unimportant.

In the Czech Republic, there is an effort by scientists, non-governmental organizations and occasionally even mining companies themselves to increase the proportion of near-natural restoration measures in post-mining sites, but it is often limited by legislative barriers. Technical approaches lead to establishment of uniform communities with low natural and even economic value. A unique chance to increase the natural value of the landscape is usually missed. Until recently, it was possible to miss the challenge with the argument that there is not enough scientific knowledge about near-natural restoration. However, the negative role of technical reclamations was recently documented in many scientific studies. On the other hand, near-natural approaches are increasingly and successfully used in various restoration projects. Some of them will be further described as examples of good restoration practices.

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Grasslands in Europe of high nature value
Edited by P. Veen, R. Jefferson, J. de Smidt and J. van der Straaten (2009)
KNNV Publishing, 320 pages
ISBN 9789050113168

Grasslands are an important part of European nature, sustaining about 50% of the endemic plant species of Europe. They are (part of) the habitat of a wealth of animal species, among which a large proportion is officially listed as vulnerable or endangered with extinction. Most of European grasslands are part of traditional agricultural landscapes. Modern agriculture, however, is a threat to the survival of biodiverse grasslands across the whole of Europe.

Biodiversity-rich grasslands are still quite common in the Central and Eastern European countries. In other regions in Europe, these grasslands are much more localised or mainly found in protected areas. Since the 1990’s, biodiversity-rich grasslands obtained a special status as ‘High Nature Value Areas’ (HNV areas), receiving increased attention in the EU agricultural policy.

The book presents 24 geographic case studies in which an international team of experts describe the large variety of grasslands in Europe, ranging from the grasslands of Gotland and Öland (Sweden) to the Spanish Dehesas, and from the hay meadows of the British Pennine Dales to the steppes of Turkish Anatolia. Not forgetting the grasslands in the different mountainous regions in Europe, each with their large number of endemics. Each case study gives information on typical plant and animal communities, the cultural and agricultural context in which they evolved and the threats they are facing today. Measures are suggested for revalorisation, maintenance or restoration of these ecological valuable grasslands. The accessible text is accompanied by a wealth of beautiful colour photos, graphs and maps.

The 24 case studies are preceded by thematic chapters on the history of agriculture, the fauna of grasslands, the grassland communities, and the connection between grasslands and climate. The final part of the book analyses the opportunities and risks of EU policy to conserve these grasslands. It offers a farmer-centred outlook to manage and to maintain the European grasslands of high nature value for future generations.

With its comprehensive approach the publication of this book may be considered a milestone event in the communication on the ecological and cultural importance of European grassland ecosystems. It can be warmly recommended for every body involved in or concerned with the subject. Hopefully it can contribute to halt the ongoing loss of semi-natural and natural grasslands in Europe. When you open the book, you don’t need to be an expert to get enthusiastic about this aim!

Kris Decleer
May 2010

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Handbook near-natural re-vegetation of raw soil

Edited by A. Kirmer & S. Tischew (2006)

Content

  • overview about near-natural methods
  • overview of site types, possible types of target vegetation and suitable restoration methods
  • practical implementation of the methods (seed-rich mowing material and hay mulch, threads of hay, hay threshing, seeding (grassland and forests), transfer of topsoil (grassland and forests), planting and introduction of non-rooted plant parts, planting on lake shores)
  • costs of near-natural restoration measures

Target Groups

  • landscape architects
  • authorities and companies who are responsible for re-vegetation, restoration and recultivation measures
  • producers for seeds and plants
  • landscape conservation organisations, voluntary nature conservation associations and institutions

More information here.
English version: pdf download here.
Original, more extensive German version “Handbuch naturnahe Begrünung von Rohböden”: see http://www.surenet.info

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Ecological restoration of Mediterranean grasslands in Provence and California
By: Elise Buisson, Institut Universitaire de Technologie d’Avignon (2006)

Disturbances and resilience are major factors in ecosystem dynamics. The first objective of this work was to assess the resilience of plant communities after anthropogenic exogenous disturbances. The absence or low long-term resilience of the ecosystems studied suggested that they were dysfunctional. The second objective of this thesis was thus to isolate several factors to better understand the whole functioning of these ecosystems. Perennial grassland species were planted in degraded ecosystems and environmental factors were manipulated. In both the Mediterranean areas studied, seed emergence was low, suggesting that transplanting may be a better option to reintroduce perennial species to degraded ecosystems. Survival and establishment of sowed Nassella pulchra and the other transplanted species were greatly enhanced by habitat manipulation. In La Crau, stone cover should be restored, and sheep stocking rates and arable weed competition reduced. In California, exotic annual competition should drastically be reduced and topsoil removal looked like a promising method to achieve this.

This book is available free of charge: thierry.dutoit@univ-avignon.fr