Randomness in Restoration

Jonathan Chase of Washington University in Saint Louis devised his own experiment to test whether randomness contributed to diversity in restoration projects. He made a bunch of ponds in big metal tubs and varied the species and the amount of nutrients he put into each tub. Then he monitored the tubs for 7 years. When the study was done, he had come to the conclusion that introducing randomness into restoration is very likely to increase diversity, and he contrasted that idea to the typical approach to restoration, which involves restoring a “succession” of plants in order to mimic succession in nature. (An example of succession would be the tendency of aspen to invade a burned area, followed some years later by pines or spruce.)

Watch the video here for “Restoration Ecologists Can Learn from Nature’s Randomness,” courtesy of Homemade Wilderness, May 27, 2010