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Facilitation shifts paradigms and can amplify coastal restoration efforts
Silliman, B.R.; Schrack, E.; He, Q.; Cope, R.; Santoni, A.; van der Heide, T.; Jacobi, R.; Jacobi, M.; van de Koppel, J. (2015). Facilitation shifts paradigms and can amplify coastal restoration efforts. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112(46): 14295-14300.
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The Academy: Washington, D.C.. ISSN 0027-8424; e-ISSN 1091-6490, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Silliman, B.R.
  • Schrack, E.
  • He, Q.
  • Cope, R.
  • Santoni, A.
  • van der Heide, T.
  • Jacobi, R.
  • Jacobi, M.
  • van de Koppel, J., more

    Restoration has been elevated as an important strategy to reversethe decline of coastal wetlands worldwide. Current practice in restorationscience emphasizes minimizing competition between outplantedpropagules to maximize planting success. This paradigmpersists despite the fact that foundational theory in ecology demonstratesthat positive species interactions are key to organism successunder high physical stress, such as recolonization of bare substrate. Asevidence of how entrenched this restoration paradigm is, our surveyof 25 restoration organizations in 14 states in the United States revealedthat >95% of these agencies assume minimizing negative interactions(i.e., competition) between outplants will maximize propagulegrowth. Restoration experiments in both Western and Eastern Atlanticsalt marshes demonstrate, however, that a simple change in plantingconfiguration (placing propagules next to, rather than at adistance from, each other) results in harnessing facilitation and increasedyields by 107% on average. Thus, small adjustments in restorationdesign may catalyze untapped positive species interactions,resulting in significantly higher restoration success with no addedcost. As positive interactions between organisms commonly occur incoastal ecosystems (especially in more physically stressful areas likeuncolonized substrate) and conservation resources are limited, transformationof the coastal restoration paradigm to incorporate facilitationtheory may enhance conservation efforts, shoreline defense, andprovisioning of ecosystem services such as fisheries production.

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