Functional Restoration of Desertified, Water-Limited Ecosystems: The Israel Desert Experience

Shayli Dor-Haim, David Brand, Itshack Moshe, Moshe Shachak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Ecological restoration has recognized explicitly the recovery of ecosystem functions. The emphasis on ecosystem functions in restoration efforts can be defined as functional restoration. Functional restoration, i.e., rehabilitation of ecosystem functions, is particularly applicable to highly degraded landscapes such as desertified areas, where restoration to the original state is impossible. This review paper produced a general conceptual model of the fundamental processes that regulate ecosystem functions in water-limited ecosystems. The Israeli Negev Desert was used as a case study to test the model results in the field. We developed general guiding principles for functional restoration of degraded landscapes that integrate functional restoration methods and include four successive steps: (1) identifying the fundamental processes that regulate ecosystem functions in alternative states; (2) detecting drivers leading to degraded states; (3) functional restoration: changing the state of the degraded landscape; and (4) monitoring the impact of the restoration effort and assessing its success in terms of ecosystem services. Our case study, the Negev, provided us with insights on how to reverse desertification in water-limited systems by restoring source–sink networks as a subset of functional restoration. The four suggested steps of functional restoration are essential for ecosystem recovery in the Anthropocene.

Original languageEnglish
Article number643
JournalLand
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Park Shaked LTER site
  • climate change
  • disturbance
  • eLTER
  • ecosystem function
  • ecosystem services
  • human-made sinks
  • negev desert
  • source-sink relationship
  • state-change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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