Ecological restoration is the process of restoring an ecosystem or habitat back to its original state after it has undergone any kind of disturbance. It is an intentional activity induced in an ecosystem to accelerate the recovery of the overall ecosystem in terms of health, sustainability and integrity. A wide range of ecological processes can be done to restore an ecosystem like afforestation, daylight streams,reintroduction of native species, removal of non native species, habitat and range improvement of targeted species, removal of weeds and revegetation of arid areas.
Leaf Litter Accumulation
Believe it or no, this is one of the most important roles in the restoration process. It essentially means that whatever leaves fall on the ground are allowed to accumulate on the forest floor. Leaf litter holds a higher quantity of water vapour between it and this increases the chances of condensation and moistness for plant life to grow. This also depends on other natural factors like wind and species accumulation in the forest. The leaf litter is more abundant in primary forests than in secondary forests, making them more susceptible to change using this process than secondary forests.
Spatial heterogeneity of resources can greatly affect the plant community composition, diversity and assembly trajectory. It has been found that soil resource heterogeneity in a tall grass prairie area, there was an insufficient amount of resource heterogeneity that led to situations where one species dominated others. This proved that ecological filters were necessary to sustain community assemblies.
Invasion and Restoration
Restoration processes can also be used to limit the spread of invasive flora and fauna in a functioning ecosystem. Different ecosystems require different treatment and techniques for managing different types of invaders. The approach used to control the invading plant or animal species must also not affect the ecosystem you are trying to save it from. The approach must be targeted and should only affect what is to be affected. These are not used to restore entire ecosystems, but rather as a preventive measure to avoid spreading a localised invasion across the ecosystem. The idea is to remove the invading species, thereby reducing the effects it can cause to the short term and long term sustainability of the given ecosystem. An example of this would be using a colony of carpenter ants to a nest of yellow crazy ants, because yellow crazy ants are harmful for certain types of plants while carpenter ants are not.
Succession is the actual natural process of restoration of an ecosystem. However, this restoration may be sporadic in nature and undesirable elements might accumulate and amplify. Therefore it is important to control the environmental conditions during succession so that only the desirable elements are amplified.