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Increasing pressures from population growth and development are degrading the health of ecosystems across the globe. Whether on the land, beneath the sea, or in the air, restoring environmental sustainability is critical to our global future. Ecological restoration seeks to rehabilitate an area to recover a sustainable and resilient ecosystem, including native plants and animals and the biogeochemical processes on which they rely. A central challenge is to identify achievable rehabilitation goals and implementation techniques as well as developing a well-integrated and scientifically rigorous approaches to monitoring whether the goals are reached.
UMCES and its researchers are developing the next generation of “smart restoration” techniques to restore large ecosystems, such as the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Our scientists are engaged in critical scientific research related to restoration of forest, stream, and bay ecosystems as well as restoration of specific habitats including wetlands, seagrass beds and oyster reefs. Our scientists continue to evaluate how individual restoration projects, which are typically small-scale, confer benefits to the broader ecosystem.