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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #400330

Research Project: Restoration and Conservation of Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Functional traits are used in restoration practice: A response to Merchant et al. (2022)

item GORNISH, ELISE - University Of Arizona
item CAMPBELL, CARIANNE - Strategic Habitat Enhancements
item Svejcar, Lauren
item MUNSON, SETH - Us Geological Survey (USGS)
item VAUGHN, KURT - Borderlands Restoration Network
item SPAETH, MICHAEL - University Of Arizona
item YELENIK, STEPHANIE - Us Forest Service (FS)
item WOLF, ASHLEE - Institute For Applied Ecology
item MITCHELL, RACHEL - University Of Arizona

Submitted to: Restoration Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/4/2023
Publication Date: 2/7/2023
Citation: Gornish, E.S., Campbell, C., Svejcar, L.N., Munson, S.M., Vaughn, K., Spaeth, M.K., Yelenik, S.G., Wolf, A., Mitchell, R. 2023. Functional traits are used in restoration practice: A response to Merchant et al. (2022). Restoration Ecology. Article e13880.

Interpretive Summary: Many restoration practitioners currently use traits-based knowledge to select species for restoration. However, the language that they use to articulate this is different from the scientific literature. Our paper highlights the efforts of restoration practitioners at present and provides recommendations for approaches that researchers can use to better connect with practitioners.

Technical Abstract: A recent Restoration Ecology article by Merchant et al. (2022) suggested that practitioners do not regularly use functional traits in restoration planning. We disagree and provide our collective experience that practitioners do leverage trait-based approaches and information, but in ways that are different from researchers. Here, we provide an expanded perspective that incorporates practitioner voices to provide a more complete assessment of how traits are used in restoration practice. We highlight that a major challenge in the field of restoration ecology that leads to a disconnect between researchers and practitioners is a different set of knowledge systems, goals, incentives, and limitations. We provide approaches that researchers can use to connect with practitioners and leverage their knowledge.