Ecological restoration substantially boosts biodiversity and ecosystem services
July 30, 2009

A new analysis reports that ecological restoration generally deliver benefits for both conserving biodiversity and supporting human livelihoods, but does not completely reverse degradation caused by humans.

The research, published in Science, examined 89 studies and found that ecological restoration increased provision of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 44 percent and 25 percent respectively. Values of both, however, remained lower in restored than in intact reference ecosystems. Still Jose Rey Benayas and colleagues are encouraged that restoration projects could become increasingly viable under emerging payments for environmental services schemes like the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism proposed for a post-Kyoto climate agreement. Such initiatives, which could compensate developing countries for protecting and restoring ecosystems, could simultaneously deliver benefits to the environment and local communities.

The authors suggest the development of cost-benefit analyses that incorporate the values of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services could help "maximize return on investments in restoration."

José M. Rey Benayas, Adrian C. Newton, Anita Diaz, James M. Bullock. "Enhancement of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by Ecological Restoration: A Meta-Analysis." Science 31 July 2009

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Ecological restoration substantially boosts biodiversity and ecosystem services.