Conceptual Frameworks and References for Landscape-scale Restoration: Reflecting back and Looking forward

  • James Aronson Missouri Botanical Garden
  • James N. Blignaut University of Pretoria
  • Thibaud B. Aronson South African Environmental Observation Network
Keywords: Historical continuity, holistic ecological restoration, landscape approach, reference system, restorative activities, restoring natural capital, scaling-up


We review some of the most commonly known models in restoration ecology from the past 20 years. From these, we seek to identify essential elements required for the scaling-up and mainstreaming of restoration and, based on that, develop a new framework that could be used to assist in the realization of long-lasting and effective restoration policies and programs at the landscape and larger spatial scales. We argue that the reference model is particularly important at a time when there are urgent calls and investments for scaling-up restoration to the landscape scale. At that scale, we argue, it is essential to consider both ecological restoration and ecological rehabilitation as just two of the various components in a “family” of restorative activities that must be deployed, including changed management practices for agriculture, to make ongoing human activities and land uses more ecologically sound and sustainable. In conclusion, we present a new model that could help orient if not actually design planning, monitoring and evaluation, scaling-up, and applying restorative activities in new areas.