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Hopes for the Future: Restoration Ecology and Conservation Biology

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Science  25 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5325, pp. 515-522
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.515

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Conversion of natural habitats into agricultural and industrial landscapes, and ultimately into degraded land, is the major impact of humans on the natural environment, posing a great threat to biodiversity. The emerging discipline of restoration ecology provides a powerful suite of tools for speeding the recovery of degraded lands. In doing so, restoration ecology provides a crucial complement to the establishment of nature reserves as a way of increasing land for the preservation of biodiversity. An integrated understanding of how human population growth and changes in agricultural practice interact with natural recovery processes and restoration ecology provides some hope for the future of the environment.

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