Future-proofing ecosystem restoration through enhancing adaptive capacity

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


Social-ecological ecosystem restoration involves interacting challenges, including climate change, resource overexploitation and political instability. To prepare for these and other emerging threats, we synthesized key restoration and social-ecological systems literature and derived three guiding themes that can help to enhance the adaptive capacity of restoration sites: (i) work with the existing system, (ii) create self-sustaining, adaptive systems, and (iii) foster diversity and participation. We propose a two-step approach and provide an example from Rwanda detailing the application of these principles. While site-specific activities have to be designed and implemented by local practitioners, our synthesis can guide forward-thinking restoration practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number377
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 12.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Tobias Plieninger and Tobias Kuemmerle for providing valuable feedback on drafts of this manuscript.

This publication was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of the Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).