The restoration of vegetation cover in the semi-arid Iberian southeast

J. Cortina*, B. Amat, V. Castillo, D. Fuentes, F. T. Maestre, F. M. Padilla, L. Rojo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations

Abstract

Semi-arid landscapes in the western Mediterranean have been used for millennia, resulting in large-scale transformations and widespread degradation. In some instances, these degraded environments have been unable to recover spontaneously, and ambitious restoration programs have been launched over the last decades to improve landscape conditions. Ecological restoration may speed up succession, promote more complex communities and increase their functionality. But uncertainty in the definition of restoration objectives, failure to identify most efficient practices and, particularly, socio-economic and cultural constrains may compromise future actions. Here, we review recent advances in the restoration of semi-arid vegetation cover in the Iberian southeast, discuss future challenges and suggest two key steps towards increasing the consistency and efficiency of restoration programs: emphasis on ecosystem services, and implementation of participative and adaptive management practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1377-1384
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume75
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Adaptive management
  • Desertification
  • Ecological restoration
  • Facilitation
  • Participative management
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • State-and-transition models
  • Steppes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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