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ARS Home » Crop Production and Protection » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #399747

Research Project: Headquarters Cooperative Programs - Crop Production and Protection (CPP)

Location: Crop Production and Protection

Title: Patterning ecological restoration after weeds

item Young, Steve
item Hamerlynck, Erik

Submitted to: Restoration Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Weeds can have problematic and beneficial aspects depending on the context. Utilizing the beneficial aspects in restoration will require a paradigm shift in the approach taken by restoration practitioners, researchers, and native plant breeders and suppliers. By giving more attention to the beneficial aspects of weeds, practitioners can achieve greater success in restoration efforts.

Technical Abstract: The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent. Disturbances stemming from anthropogenic or natural causes make plant community restoration challenging. The introduction of fast-growing weeds that generate high biomass and produce copious seed are most threatening to plant communities. A paradigm shift in ecosystem restoration is needed that emphasizes traits and affected ecological processes similar to weeds. The repeated introduction of seed from native plants with weedy characteristics follows the propagule pressure and evolution of invasiveness hypotheses. In targeting areas with heavy weed populations. native plants could establish and more successfully develop into functioning plant communities.