--E. O. Wilson, 1992
As we enter the new century, restoration ecology is undergoing dramatic growth as an academic discipline. Restoration ecology has at its core the assumption that many degradative forces are temporary, and that some proportion of habitat loss and population decline is recoverable. Of course, extinctions are forever and many habitat losses are not likely to be recovered. Such losses are increasingly preventable and inexcusable. Conservation biology seeks to minimize these permanent losses. Restoration ecology seeks to repair what can be repaired, and to ensure the future fate of surviving habitats and populations, regardless of whether they were previously threatened. The restoration of degraded and abandoned land represents the most profound land-use change of the coming century.
The Restoration Ecology Area of Emphasis at UC Davis mirrors the growth in restoration ecology as an academic discipline. It is the fastest growing AOE in the Graduate Group in Ecology, with students studying a wide range of restoration ecology-related topics. There are plenty of opportunities to learn restoration in its many facets through classes and seminars; a core course in restoration ecology has been developed and was first offered in the spring of 1999. The AOE and its members also sponsor conferences, oversee local restoration projects, and offer many chances to volunteer at restoration sites and learn the techniques first-hand.
The focus of the Restoration Ecology (RESECL) Area of Emphasis (AOE) in the Graduate Group in Ecology (GGE) is on the study of the interactions between natural habitats and human land use. Research areas span several hierarchical levels in ecology from plant ecophysiology through population, community, ecosystem and landscape ecology, with an emphasis on managing systems to enhance, restore or rebuild degraded habitats. Students will describe and quantitatively study the impacts of various management strategies on target species populations, community structure, ecosystem productivity and sustainability. Ecological principals and site-specific relationships are used to develop management prescriptions (e.g., fire, stocking of target species, weed control or grazing) for restoration conservation and improvement of natural areas.
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