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Ecosystem Fragmentation can be Reversed by Ecological Restoration

Ecosystem fragmentation, along with many other global trends, is causing the natural world to undergo profound changes at all spatial scales from the micro-habitat to the continental. The widespread and unprecedented human impact upon nature has adversely affected ecosystem health and resilience, biodiversity, and the provision of ecological goods and services that all species depend on (e.g. clean air, fresh water and healthy soils). The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) International maintains that even with the tremendous pressures that humans presently exert upon our ecosystems, fragmentation is neither inevitable nor irreversible.

SER International advocates the integration of restoration projects, regardless of size, into regional and transnational landscape planning so as to protect biodiversity, increase connectivity, prevent further habitat loss, and foster sustainable development. To that end, restoration projects have been proven to make an important contribution to the establishment of core habitat areas, buffer zones, wildlife corridors, stepping stone habitats, biosphere reserves and similar protected areas, and in addition can improve the overall value of the surrounding landscape in terms of habitat quality or dispersal opportunities.

"Restoration has an important role to play in reversing fragmentation and mitigating its adverse effects" said George Gann, Chair of the SER International Board of Directors. "By reintroducing living components and reestablishing their healthy interaction within landscapes, we have the opportunity to enhance the function of land beyond the production of food, fuel, and fiber." Jim Harris, Chair of SER International's Science and Policy Working Group, adds that "By judicious and pragmatic application of the principles of ecological restoration, ecosystem fragmentation can be reversed in systems as diverse as wildlands and urban sprawl"."

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