New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1988) 11: 1-12

Presidential-Address—Opportunities for Ecological Restoration

Research Article
I. A. E. Atkinson  
  1. Botany Division, Taita Research Centre, DSIR, Private Bag, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Ecological restoration is defined as active intervention and management to restore biotic communities that were formerly present at a particular place and time. Examples are given from both New Zealand and overseas of a variety of different restoration projects. The possibility is raised of replacing some animal species extinct in New Zealand with related living forms from other countries. The arguments for devoting resources to ecological restoration include creation of educational assets, aesthetic benefits, and scientific opportunities. They also include the maintenance of native plants and animals for environmental repair and enhancement work, and genetic conservation at the species and infraspecific levels. Thus ecological restoration is a means of restoring biological diversity to depleted landscapes and, as a consequence, can increase the variety of ways in which people appreciate nature. Ecological restoration of lost biotic communities should be seen as complementary to the protection of those remaining: both activities are needed in a comprehensive approach to nature conservation.