The applicability of multiple potential natural vegetation models in selecting targets for ecological restoration

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The selection of target ecosystems is currently the subject of lively debate in the ecological restoration society. Originally, ecological restoration targeted the reconstruction of a pre-degradation or so-called historical state. We are currently in a period of rapid climate change and the likelihood of a ‘no-analog future’ is increasing, which means that a historical reference might no longer work everywhere as restoration target in the strict sense. Somodi et al. (2012, 2017) offer the multiple potential natural vegetation (MPNV) framework to help assessing the range of potential target vegetation types for restoration. As MPNV expresses the landscape’s capacity to foster certain natural vegetation types without human intervention in a probabilistic setting, the manager can choose from the natural types available and optimize restoration based on environmental considerations, socio-economic priorities, and feasibility of restoration. We plan to test the applicability of MPNV in target selection by evaluating long-term restoration results. Potential vegetation types will be identified for the experimental sites by the MPNV model. In the proposed topic the student will compare the resulting probabilities with the long-term result of restoration at the different sites.