Mapping and assessing the knowledge base of ecological restoration

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Tina Heger
  • Jonathan Jeschke
  • Catherine Febria
  • Johannes Kollmann
  • Stephen D. Murphy
  • Line Rochefort
  • Nancy Shackelford
  • Vicky Temperton
  • Eric Higgs
Information on restoration science and practice is dispersed across large numbers of scientific papers, reports, books, and other resources, and there is a lack of synthetic approaches and of linkages between ecological theory and practice. With recent calls for scaling up ecological restoration, there is an urgent need for improving the effectiveness of restoration ecology by presenting existing knowledge in an organized and accessible form. Practitioners benefit from knowing which theories explain patterns and processes in a specific ecosystem, and scientists need an overview of empirical evidence supporting current theories. Strengthening links between restoration practice and science benefits both areas. Based on a new approach used for organizing and assessing hypotheses in invasion biology, we suggest the development of an interactive online platform that promotes the integration of restoration science and practice by (1) presenting an overview of restoration ecology; (2) mapping theoretical work relevant for ecological restoration; (3) displaying direct links to relevant publications; and (4) providing summaries of empirical evidence for ecological theories in specific settings. This online knowledge base should be developed in an open process, bringing together the restoration community with experts in semantic web and natural language processing, library scientists, web designers, and other specialists. The platform should become an evolving, searchable, openly accessible, and intuitively organized tool for future ecological restoration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13676
JournalRestoration Ecology
Number of pages10
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12.03.2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The ideas presented in this manuscript were triggered by a research visit of T.H. with E.H., funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, HE 5893/7‐1). T.H. and J.M.J. additionally received funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the Collaborative Project “Bridging in Biodiversity Science (BIBS)” (funding number 01LC1501) and from the Volkswagen Foundation (funding number 97 863). DFG also funds TH's current position (HE 5893/8‐1). C.F. is funded by Canada Research Chairs Program, NSERC Canada, V.M.T. by the State of Lower Saxony, and L.R. by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC Discovery grant, no. 138097‐2012). The authors thank four anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Restoration Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Ecological Restoration.

    Research areas

  • Ecosystems Research - conceptual overview, evidence-based restoration, interactive online platform, knowledge mapping, research synthesis, science-practice links