Using ecosystem engineers to restore ecological systems

Trends Ecol Evol. 2006 Sep;21(9):493-500. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2006.06.002. Epub 2006 Jun 30.


Ecosystem engineers affect other organisms by creating, modifying, maintaining or destroying habitats. Despite widespread recognition of these often important effects, the ecosystem engineering concept has yet to be widely used in ecological applications. Here, we present a conceptual framework that shows how consideration of ecosystem engineers can be used to assess the likelihood of restoration of a system to a desired state, the type of changes necessary for successful restoration and how restoration efforts can be most effectively partitioned between direct human intervention and natural ecosystem engineers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ecology*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Models, Theoretical