Worldwide, habitat loss is the number one cause of extinction and loss of ecosystem services. In California, more than 90% of all wetlands and riparian areas have been completely destroyed and what remains is highly degraded. Accelerating climate and land-use change adds additional stress to what little habitat remains, and to the species and services provided by nature.
The results – poor water quality, higher flood risk, fewer species, and less carbon sequestered by nature, to name a few.
But there is hope. Ecological restoration is a key tool to help heal the damage and to prepare ecosystems for climate change.
What is ecological restoration? The Society for Ecological Restoration defines it as the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. Point Blue scientists believe we need to expand this definition to include climate change adaptation – actions designed to reduce the vulnerability of natural and societal systems to the effects of climate change. We call this climate-smart restoration.
Point Blue works on both the science and practice of ecological restoration. We believe that the combination of science and practice is critical to developing successful projects.
- We design and implement studies to measure the success of restoration, guiding the practice of restoration towards proven methods.
- We are restoration practitioners, through the Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed Program, implementing on-the-ground restoration projects with the help of students. This enables us to test our recommendations and by involving students we create a community of people committed ensuring the restoration project survives through time.
We advise public and private land managers in ecosystem restoration, ensuring the needs of wildlife, and people, are met, thus meeting the goals of habitat managers and communities.