Ecosystems have been studied for centuries, and for most of that time, the role of soils in influencing their structure and function has been ignored. Accordingly, when ecosystem repair has been attempted in the past, the importance of soils was again underappreciated. Fortunately, this situation is changing rapidly. The study of the relationship between soils and ecosystems is radically and rapidly expanding, and now, few restoration activities are undertaken without at least some attention paid to soils. However, there is still much to learn about how specific soil characteristics influence various ecosystems, and in turn, affect restoration success in different landscapes.
We will explore multiple case studies where soils influenced the outcome of restoration efforts, ranging from cases in which soils were ignored and efforts failed to meet management goals to those where different aspects of soils were considered and efforts were successful. We will also discuss cases in which soil amendments did not appear to influence the outcome of the restoration effort. From these studies, we will attempt to develop broad guidelines on what situations make the consideration of soils imperative to those where they may be less critical.