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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Community completeness as a measure of restoration success: multiple-study comparisons across ecosystems and ecological groups

Noreika, Norbertas; Partel, Meelis; Ockinger, Erik


When restoring habitat for biodiversity, the most effective outcome will be achieved by restoration projects which target several organism groups or ecosystem types. Such integrated approaches require direct comparisons among different ecological communities while evaluating success of restoration. The Community Completeness Index (CCI) is a recently developed metric that allows such comparisons by accounting for both present and absent but otherwise suitable taxa. We empirically evaluated the applicability of CCI for assessing the outcome of ecological restoration. We analyzed how species richness and the completeness of ecological communities recover after restoration, for different ecological groups and ecosystem types, and how it develops over time after restoration. Analyses were performed on 18 datasets with per site presence-absence data from Northern Europe. Each dataset represented one of the three habitat types (mire, forest, grassland) and different ecological groups (plants, flying insects, epigeic invertebrates). Datasets contained pristine, degraded and restored sites. We calculated the dark diversity and subsequently CCI based on species co-occurrences. Our multiple-study analyses revealed that CCI of grassland plant communities increased faster after restoration than invertebrate communities or plant communities in forests and mires. In addition, flying insect communities demonstrated significantly highest CCI in pristine mires. Some results were significant only for richness but not for CCI indicating species pool effect. Finally, completeness and species richness of restored communities increased with time since restoration. As such, our study demonstrated that CCI is a useful tool in evaluating restoration success across different organism groups and ecosystem types.


Dark diversity; Habitat restoration; Species co-occurrences; Species pool; Species richness; Time lag

Published in

Biodiversity and Conservation
2020, Volume: 29, number: 13, pages: 3807-3827
Publisher: SPRINGER

      SLU Authors

    • Noreika, Norbertas

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