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Review article2020Peer reviewed

Evaluation of restoration approaches on the Inner Mongolian Steppe based on criteria of the Society for Ecological Restoration

Zhang, Feng; Nilsson, Christer; Xu, Zhenzhu; Zhou, Guangsheng


Ecological restoration is becoming an increasingly common management tool worldwide. However, a challenge still exists on how to effectively monitor restoration outcomes and evaluate restoration success for ecological restoration managers. In this review, the goal is to evaluate whether the research in a degraded area has been sufficient for fostering efficient restoration measures and follow-up of restoration success based on the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) criteria. We selected the Inner Mongolian Steppe (IMS) in China as a model system. This area has been the subject of substantial research over the most recent years to understand degradation processes and restoration outcomes. We put together the variables used to assess degradation and restoration needs in the IMS and analyzed restoration results based on SER's nine criteria for evaluating restoration success. We found that the accomplished research in the IMS only partially supplied the data needed for evaluation of restoration success. The available results were sufficient for a proper evaluation of species composition and tentatively supported assessments of another seven criteria but not self-sustainability. Grazing exclusion led to the fastest and most successful recovery of degraded steppe, but landscape-scale processes during restoration in the IMS are still incompletely known. Our review supports large-scale restoration of the IMS and emphasizes the need for long-time monitoring for a more complete evaluation of the outcome of the IMS restoration following all SER's criteria.


ecological processes; ecosystem degradation; evaluation criteria; grasslands; restoration assessment

Published in

Land Degradation and Development
2020, Volume: 31, number: 3, pages: 285-296
Publisher: WILEY

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

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