Wednesday, August 8, 2007: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
A1&8, San Jose McEnery Convention Center
SYMP 13 - Setting goals and targets for restoration and management of large-scale ecosystems
Setting goals (general qualitative directions) and targets (specific quantitative endpoints) is critical for the planning, implementation, and success of ecological restoration. Despite their importance, there is no common agreement on how to set restoration goals and targets. For large spatial-scale restoration projects, setting goals and targets is extremely challenging because of the complexity of both ecosystem processes and societal interactions. Large-scale systems typically lack counterparts that can be used as references because system- or landscape-level processes are a critical component of restoration values. Ecologists can contribute much to setting restoration goals and targets, yet their roles are debatable and guidelines are lacking. Ecologists can offer knowledge on interactions of ecosystem components, on how landscapes react to anthropogenic impacts, and on tradeoffs among targets and goals. Such information should be the foundation for ecological restoration projects. Yet, ecological understanding is never perfect. Historical data are always inadequate, reference sites are seldom pristine and can rarely match the spatial scale of the restoration, and predictive theories and tools have a high level of quantitative uncertainty. Further, Ecologists must work with diverse stakeholders and managers to set goals and targets. Communication among these groups is often difficult because stakeholders and managers tend to ask general questions and seek simple answers, while ecologists tend to ask specific questions and offer complex answers. Large-scale restoration projects require ecologists to design studies that address restoration questions, but what questions should ecologists and managers ask, how are they prioritized, and which approaches can most efficiently provide answers? What approaches can be harnessed to determine targets when apparent reference conditions are lacking? Further, how should ecologists communicate with managers and stakeholders about the ecological complexity, tradeoffs, and uncertainty inherent in setting restoration goals and targets? These are the questions this symposiun will address. This symposium will bring together leading ecologists from several large-scale restoration efforts that take place within a variety of ecosystems and landscapes with different levels of political and technical complexity. In addition to ecologists, we also will invite environmental managers of large-scale restoration projects to share their perspectives. We plan to reserve time for a panel discussion that will be moderated to focus on the central questions of our symposium. We believe we can show how to use multiple approaches to combine limited historical data, imperfect reference sites, and ecological theories/models, and provide crucial information for setting quantitative targets.
Organizer:Quan Dong, National Park Service
Co-organizer:Joel Trexler, Florida International University
Moderator:David E. Busch, USGS
1:30 PMA science-based prioritization scheme for restoring streams to reduce downstream nitrogen loading
Laura S. Craig, University of Maryland-College Park, Margaret A. Palmer, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
1:55 PMSetting targets for restoration: How will we get there if we don’t know where we are going?
Paul Keddy, Southeastern Louisiana University
2:20 PMSetting targets for severely damaged ecosystems without reference sites
Steve Whisenant, TAMU, X. Ben Wu, Texas A&M University
2:45 PMSetting restoration targets in the absence of historical data and reference sites
Joel Trexler, Florida International University
3:10 PMAssessing biological integrity and determining anthropogenic stress thresholds of Great Lakes coastal wetlands
Jan J.H. Ciborowski, University of Windsor, Donald G. Uzarski, Grand Valley State University, Thomas M. Burton, Michigan State University
3:35 PMBreak
3:45 PMUnderpinning mechanistic links, true tradeoff, and apparent conflicts among goals and targets of the Everglades restoration
Quan Dong, National Park Service
4:10 PMPanel discussion: Conceptual issues and synthesis
George Gann, Institute for Regional Conservation, Mark A. Davis, Macalester College, Bill Halvorson, USGS, William Throop, Green Mountain College, Thomas Fontaine, Environmental Protection Agency

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See more of The ESA/SER Joint Meeting (August 5 -- August 10, 2007)