The report has been prepared by an EKLIPSE expert working group, including researcher Pilar Andrés, and presentates a serie of key points at the scientific, political and social levels to improve the restoration of ecosystems. These results were included in the 2019 IPBES soil degradation conference.
Is ecosystem restoration working? An expert group, made up of twelve researchers from all over Europe, highlights the factors that hinder the restoration of biodiversity and the functions and services of ecosystems and what the solutions might be. First, they highlight the complexity of the restoration, which has numerous barriers and ends up interconnecting with each other. In addition, they have found that research on the field is still insufficient to be able to apply it in management, that the political priority given to it is low and that there are important conflicts of interest between all groups that are involved. Also, they remember that land use planning still has a poorly integrated view that needs to be solved.
What would be needed to improve these shortcomings? The interdisciplinary team emphasizes the requirements to improve knowledge about ecosystems: knowing how they work, their structure and the dynamics of habitats, including management requirements. There is also a need for a more fluid exchange of knowledge, both in collaborative platforms, which may still need to be created, as in the practice with continual updating and new insights. Finally, experts point out that restoration protocols are not definitive, but errors must be detected during their implementation, including clear long‐term monitoring programmes to learn more about specific contributions and their effects, efficiencies and overall effectiveness of actions in terms of ecological, social, political, economic and governance contexts.
A work group called by the European Union
What is hampering the effectiveness of existing approaches that aim to restore biodiversity and ecosystem function and services?
This request was initially put to EKLIPSE following the second call for requests by BiodivERsA, a network of national and regional funding organizations promoting pan-European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and offering innovative opportunities for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity.
To guide this answer, EKLIPSE put out a call and selected experts as part of an Expert Working Group (EWG). The call for expertise was highly successful, resulting in EKLIPSE receiving 23 applications from 15 nationalities. Pilar Andrés, was selected to be a member of this expert working group that covers a range of expertise identified in the call, and has a diverse geographical coverage:
- Judith Fisher (Fisher Research Pty Ltd/University of Western Australia)
- Jan Frouz (Charles University, Prague)
- Patricia Maria Rodriguez Gonzalez (University of Lisbon)
- David Moreno Mateos (Basque Centre for Climate Change)
- Jordi Cortina-Segarra (Society for Ecological Restoration Europe)
- Agata Klimkowska (Eco-Recover Ecosystem Restoration Advice / University of Antwerp ECOBE)
- Pilar Andres (CREAF)
- Apostolos Kyriazopoulos (Democritus University of Thrace)
- Prof. Susan Baker (Sustainable Places Research Institute – Cardiff University)
- Dr. Craig Bullock (School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy – University College Dublin)
- Simo Sarkki (Oulu University, Finland)
This group met in Brussels in July 2018 and in October 2018 and had several additional meetings remotely. The EKLIPSE Working Group identified a structured process for organizing the work tasks and published in 2019 a protocol to outline the choice of methodology, details of the methodology and expected outcomes. The aim of this methodology is to assess the current knowledge of the reasons hampering restoration effectiveness and orient future research, policy and practice on ecosystem restoration.