Challenging Assumptions in Urban Restoration Ecology

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Landscape Journal32:2ISSN 0277-2426 2013 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin SystemChallenging Assumptions in Urban Restoration EcologyJoshua ZeunertABSTRACT This paper presents a critical examina-tion of core assumptions of Restoration Ecology (RE) and Urban Restoration Ecology (URE) with a focus on reinstatement of native/indigenous vegetation in urban areas. REs widely utilized and imposed land use approach reconstructs questionable historic interpretations of natural landscapes. RE misappropriates various terms and ideologies central to its paradigm, thereby exclud-ing non- native biodiversity. Despite decades of theory, research, and practice, RE suffers a noteworthy risk of failure. RE applies rural conservation practices to urban environments, which often presents difficulties in terms of scale and suitability for fauna. RE is optimistic or mis-representative regarding economics, maintenance, and risk in urban environments. This paper briefly discusses an alternative focus, which includes a broader concept of restoration. More substantially, this paper explores multi-functional landscape techniques that: respond to novel states in urban environments; that address present and future needs and scenarios; deliver tailored ecosystem services; and provide resources and productivity specifi-cally relevant to urban contexts.KEYWORDS Restoration ecology, urban, biodiversity, landscape architecture, indigenous, native, design, plan-ning, management.INTRODUCTIONThis paper presents a critical examination of the ideology and practice of Restoration Ecology (RE), also known as ecological restoration/reconstruction/reinstatement, in the landscape context of urbanized Australia. While RE appears to be a reasonable and positive endeavour, there are numerous core problems with its ideology, approach, and eff ectiveness. This paper does not seek to critique the practice of restoring landscapes per se, but rather, questions the prevalence of applying the dominant paradigm and narrow focus in which RE is often conceived and conducted. The critique focuses on RE that returns landscapes to past, historical states (SER 2004; SER 2005; Handel 2011), and the attempts to re- purpose urban and peri- urban landscapes as reconstructed indigenous/native land-scapes in urban areas where these have been altogether destroyed and lost (herein referred to as urban restora-tion ecology or URE). While most RE is applied in rural environments or at a regional scale, the majority of discourse does not explicitly diff erentiate between urban and rural contexts. Regardless of context, RE practitioners often apply the same or similar methods in urban and rural areas. While the RE movement provides accessible material on implementation (SER 2005), very little is provided or discussed to its relevance in urban sce-narios. The need for RE in any given context is often treated as a given (Clewell and Aronson 2006) and therefore most literature does not closely examine the context for RE, the where and why. Some RE dis-course blurs the boundary between conservation and restoration, and some misappropriates the term bio-diversity. For the purposes of this paper, native and indigenous are used to denote the plant and animal species occurring in a nation/region before the arrival of humans and/or signifi cant disturbance by humans. 232 Landscape Journal 32:2Urban refers to an agglomeration of humans in towns, cities, and megalopolises.While this paper focuses on an Australian context, it has many coincident themes and parallels with RE in North America, the UK, and worldwide. Urban disciplines aff ected by RE/URE ideology typically include: ecology, urban and regional planning, urban ecology, landscape architecture, urban design, natural resource management, environmental management, architecture, open space management, and horticul-ture. Many of these disciplines have not disseminated critique and debate of URE. As these disciplines often aim to improve and increase natural resources and capital, ecosystem services, and social engagement with cultural and environmental issues and practices, it is, thus, imperative to assess UREs legitimacy in a wider context.This article provides a contextual background for ecological restoration cast against a discussion of fl awed assumptions, performance issues, and a suggested paradigm shift to improve landscape outcomes. Possibilities for further research on multi-functional urban landscape approaches are pre-sented, such as urban agriculture at the edges of its scope of considerations.BACKGROUNDEons of geological time on earth have given human-ityuntil recent decadesa seemingly endless abun-dance of ecosystem services that have provided us with the fresh water, food, and resources that fund our daily activities. Human practices have always re- shaped and impacted ecosystems, and until recent decades the global human population has not been large enough to cause widespread concern at the collective impacts of human actions. In recent centuries and most markedly, since the 20th century, humans have industrialized at an accelerated pace fueled by extensive use of fossil fuels, natural resources, and ecosystem services to the detriment of biological diversity and native environ-ments. A worldwide urban culture dependent on fossil fuels has generated high pressure on global and na-tional ecosystems, creating concern amongst ecologists, scientists, and in some cases, the wider population. There is an increasing global scientifi c consensus that the Earth has entered a biodiversity extinction crisis (UNEP 2007) due to the cumulative eff ects of human (anthropogenic) impacts on the environment (ABCS 2010). A wide range of discourse on global and local biodiversity loss has been published. Subsequent focus on reducing further losses has encountered a range of threats and impacts (ABCS 2010; Cocklin and Dibden 2009). In response, conservation of native and indige-nous biodiversity has expanded to include the concepts and practices of restoration ecology/ecosystem res-toration (RE) (Lodwick 1994). Restoring ecosystems and their services is intended as a measure to increase resilience in the face of biodiversity loss and to restore ecosystem services. RE as practiced usually attempts to rebuild eco-system services as conservation for conservations sake (DeClerck and Salinas 2011) and/or reconstructs historic landscapes that usually have lesser value to humans. REs increasingly narrow focus on conserv-ing and restoring ecosystems and their services creates a mixed impact in practice. Though primarily based on conservation motives rather than economic or human ends (Redford and Adams 2009), the provision of ecosystem services is an anthropocentric concept. Evaluating the eff ectiveness of reconstructed ecosystem services requires a similarly broad and anthropocen-tric methodology. This article argues that as global populations, ecological footprints, and human impacts continue their unprecedented growth, it is imperative that the landscapes we invest in are fl exible and multi-functional as they:1. maximize their benefits to future inhabitants; 2. maximize efficiency and performance; 3. are resilient to future pressures; 4. mitigate impacts of human activities, and5. provide useful resources, services, and benefits (WCED 1987).This paper does not seek to question the often surprising evidence of native/indigenous biodiversity located in urban areas, but rather to highlight the challenges presented in maintaining or enhancing this biodiversity, especially in areas growing in population, density, and/or intensity of human activity. What is Restoration Ecology/Urban Restoration Ecology? In their foundational document (Shackelford etal. 2013, 297), the Society for Ecological Restora-tion (SER) defi ne RE as an intentional activity that Zeunert 233initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity and sustainability (SER 2004, 1) and the process of assisting the recov-ery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, dam-aged, or destroyed (SER 2004, 3). SERs Guidelines for Developing and Managing Ecological Restoration Projects elaborates:Restoration attempts to return an ecosystem to its historic trajectory, i.e. to a state that resembles a known prior state or to another state that could be expected to develop naturally within the bounds of the historic trajectory (2005, 2).Hobbs and Norton (1996) state that the goal of ecosystem restoration is to re- transition an ecosystem to its pre- disturbed structure, function, and composi-tion. Initially, RE was primarily focused on rural and regional environments; however, its application in urban environments is increasing. REs implementation has been aided by the spatial estimation of indigenous landscape reference ecosystems (low woodland, sedgeland, etc.). In Aus-tralia, seminal works by Benson and Howell (1990) and Kraehenbuehl (1996) mapped pre- European reference ecosystems across the urban regions of Syd-ney and Adelaide and provided detailed species lists, historic photographs, drawings, and accounts. This mapping has provided an understanding of historic vegetation and landscapes in terms of spatial cover-age and vegetation association structures, which has aided REs implementation, especially where reference ecosystems have been destroyed and lost. Assessment of spatial areas, quality, and condition of reference ecosystems is now commonplace and is often an integral component of ecological studies and planning processes. Yet this approach can also be questionable as many of these assessments are highly subjective and involve implicit value judgments (Parkes, Newell, and Cheal 2003). The SER guidelines list fi ve contexts for restora-tion, three of which use urban examples where there is no pre- existing indigenous landscape present (SER 2005) in the process of return[ing] ecosystems to their intended trajectory (SER 2004, 12). REs value- laden defi nitions and terms (Suding 2011) refl ect the strong belief that historic, indigenous landscapes are the rightful state.To What Extent is Restoration Ecology/Urban Restoration Ecology Utilized?We are obviously past any point where strategies that focus on preservation of pristine habitats are sufficient for the job. Greater attention must be placed on human- dominated landscapes (Novacek and Cleland 2001).The demand for restoration is rapidly increasing: RE is in a signifi cant growth period and it is becoming a primary focus of natural resource management with thousands, if not millions of restoration projects occur-ring annually across the globe (Suding 2011; Harris 2011). The SER have members and partners in over sixty nations (Whisenant 2011). At a 2010 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, countries com-mitted to a target of restoring 15 percent of degraded ecosystems worldwide by 2020 (SCBD 2010). Growth in RE is evident in the increasing volume of published journal articles and academic programs and outputs. Decisions that determine urban land use outcomes involve planners, natural resource managers, landscape architects, architect, environment offi cers, politicians, and various consultants. RE is a prevailing and estab-lished land- use methodology endorsed and imple-mented by many of these professionals (Clewell and Aronson 2006). URE is globally evident in the projects of planners, landscape architects, and architects who increasingly use intensive methods1 in highly urbanized locations2 aimed at increasing indigenous biodiversity (such as vertical green walls on high- density buildings and large road- bridge wildlife crossings) (Francis and Lorimer 2011; Blaustein 2013). Why Question Urban Restoration Ecology?While URE appears to be a reasonable and positive endeavour, there are numerous key problems with its ideology, approach, and eff ectiveness. This is espe-cially the case when it is applied with an assumption that RE is an appropriate strategy in any given context. Restoration eff orts frequently ignore the why of the project and imply that restoration is needed, that this is inherently obvious, and that restoration intentions are noble (Clewell and Aronson 2006). The how of restoration needs signifi cantly closer examination and comparison with alternative approaches; a substantial 234 Landscape Journal 32:2undertaking that is outside of the scope of this paper, but briefl y explored in the fi nal section. FLAWED ASSUMPTIONS EMPLOYED IN RESTORATION ECOLOGYREs core problem is that it is retrospective. It assumes that the past provides the blueprint and best solution to current and future issues. Restoring ecosystems to a historical state by reinstating indigenous plant species does not necessarily optimize or maximize outcomes nor make them resilient in the face of pressures of present and future scenarios. Faced with unprecedented changes in climate, land use, and biodiversity, the goal of return-ing to static, past points in time and restarting the eco-logical clock is unrealistic (Moreira 2006; Suding 2011).For example, Wade, Gurr, and Wratten claim ecological restoration of farmland can contribute to sustainable agriculture by moving degraded ecosys-tems closer to their former state and thereby restoring ecosystem function (2008, 831). Restoring ecosystem function and historical integrity is a central goal of most RE advocates; however, it is based on several problematic assumptions:1. Restoration can restore the lost historic state and/or native/indigenous ecosystem function of sites;2. Historic states/ecosystems are optimum for current and future scenarios;3. Nature is or was naturally in- balance, and this balance can be (re)constructed by humans; 4. Systems will recover in the desired way if they are reinstated;5. Adaptation, use, or conservation of restored landscapes will be considered appropriate in the future;6. RE is the most effective method for restoring degraded land;3 and7. Degraded landscapes have less value4 than restored landscapes (accounting for the embodied energy and likelihood of success/failure of RE).Lateral thinking may help to develop novel and eff ective solutions to design, plan, and construct relevant ecosystem services, rather than attempting to replicate and reconstruct past landscapes. This is especially relevant in urban contexts.Restoration Differs from ConservationREs paradigm and practices are rooted in a rural conservation ethic (Lodwick 1994; Dramstad, Olson, and Forman 1996). While a logical evolution exists between conservation and restoration, problems arise when they are not clearly and explicitly diff erentiated and many RE advocates and literature fall into this misrepresentation. In simple terms, conservation pro-tects areas of remnant native/indigenous biodiversity already in place that have tangible conservation value. Restoration recreates past notions of native/indigenous landscapes, with no guarantee of manifesting out-comes of conservation value. An example of a document that blurs conservation and restoration/reconstruction is the national umbrella plan, Australias Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 20102030. The document makes almost no specifi c reference to the practice of restoration and what it can achieve. Yet at least two of the 10 ambitious national targets involve re- establishing eco system functions (ABCS 2010, 9) through RE activities: Item5: By 2015, 1,000 km2 of fragmented landscapes and aquatic systems are being restored to improve ecological connectivity, and Item 6: By 2015, four collaborative continental- scale linkages are established and managed to improve ecological connectivity (ABCS 2010, 10). There are countless other documents worldwide that combine conservation/preservation and restoration/reconstruction without diff erentiating their ideology and approach. Clarifi cation between these disciplines and practices would be benefi cial to avoid confusion in ideology, technique, performance, and outcomes. Pre- European North America and Australia were Natural Landscapes? Proponents of RE usually do not regard pre- European landscapes in North America and Australia as being cultural landscapesdynamic landscape systems that were shaped by millennia of aboriginal practices such as the use of fi re and hunting. A cultural landscape is produced by the long- term interaction of humans and nature (Moreira et al. 2006, 218) and defi ned as cultural properties . . . represent[ing] the combined works of nature and of man (UNESCO 2012, 14). North American and Australian landscapes were only natural before the arrival of humans (around 50,000 years prior to Europeans in Australia). For example, Zeunert 235Australian Aborigines skillfully managed their cultural landscape systems and modifi ed these to suit their purposes (actually reducing biodiversity and fertility of landscapes) (Flannery 1994). These cultural land-scapes supported an Aboriginal population estimated at only 315,000750,000 persons spread across the sub- continent at the time of European settlement and occupation of Australia in 1788 CE (Year Book Aus-tralia 2002). This spatial coverage was refl ected in the diverse range of Aboriginal tribes and language groups (Horton 1996). Their populations were balanced from a more culturally and environmentally sustainable car-rying capacity of indigenous landscapes than the west-ern cultures that followed: Australias biocapacity5 per person fell by more than half between 1961 and 2007 (GFN 2011). REs pre- European, indigenous landscape approach will not provide the biocapacity or ecosystem services utilized by the contemporary Australian popu-lation of 22 million people.6Animistic and pantheistic Aboriginal culture operated as an integrated and indivisible cultural and environmental whole, whereas contemporary western culture and RE have developed from a historic tradi-tion of separation between nature and culture to form an inherently dualistic opposition. We may question whether RE practitioners (or indeed contemporary Australians at large) are willing or even able to live in accordance with pre- European Aboriginal cultural practices.Biodiversity That is Not Native is Not of ValueConservation organizations, Natural Resource Management, biological nativists, and the RE move-ment frequently use the term biodiversity with an assumed reference to native and indigenous biodiver-sity; its actual defi nition is biological diversity of all life forms. These presume that native/indigenous bio-diversity is the only biodiversity of importance. Non- indigenous biodiversity is sometimes referred to and regarded as genetic pollution (Barnett 2003) and is underscored by a blanket rejection of exotic species, which has been likened to xenophobia by some critics (Peretti 1998; Hettinger 2001). Species relationships are complex (Montalvo et al. 1997). Productivity, agroforestry, agricultural systems, and home gardens can all be rich in wild biodiversity (Scherr and McNeely 2008). There are hundreds of examples of native animals that do not prefer their original indigenous habitat to environments created by humans (Low 1999, 2003).Animals and plants do what they can to survive. If that means taking over a quarry or a dump, so be it. We should not judge this as unnatural. If we are surprised, it only shows that our picture of nature is faulty. We need new ways to explain what we see. (Low 2003, 36).Such research challenges a prevalent assumption of RE, that planting indigenous plant species will provide optimum habitat and/or increase populations of indigenous fauna. An article by 19 ecologists claims that it is time to end the native versus non- native war:It is impractical to try to restore ecosystems to some rightful historical state . . . We must embrace the fact of novel ecosystems and incorporate many alien species into management plans, rather than try to achieve the often impossible goal of eradicating them or drastically reducing their abundance (Davis et al. 2011, 154).Can Biodiverse Indigenous Fauna Thrive in Urban Environments?A key aim of RE is establishing habitats for the preservation of threatened and endangered native fauna. This goal is often inappropriate in transport infrastructure- dominated environments where fauna face signifi cant challenges to movement (Selva et al. 2011) (Figure 1). Roadkill from vehicles is extensive7 and it aff ects all fauna types (Garriga et al. 2012) in urban and rural locations (Ament et al. 2008). More-over, fauna in urban environments are often regarded as pests especially when populations achieve unman-ageable levels. For example, large populations of bats in Australian cities routinely create problems.8 The City of Sydney Council redesigned their garbage bins to prevent White Ibis from foraging and creating a mess in public spaces. Indigenous Sulphur- crested Cockatoos have damaged solar panels and hot water systems at Adelaides Lochiel Park, where ironically, they were attracted to the urban forest intentionally planted to attract indigenous fauna! Urban habitats can support large populations of species listed as vulnerable in non- urban areas (such as Brush- tailed 236 Landscape Journal 32:2Zeunert 237Possums and the White Ibis) that can over- populate urban areas and face population culls.PERFORMANCE ISSUES RE/URE is not Effective, Efficient, Low- maintenance, Low- risk, or EconomicalThe challenges of realizing REs aspirations are well understood by scientists and ecologists who exam-ine its outcomes, even though published literature favors successful projects (Zedler 2007). Enactment and implementation of principles has lagged despite decades of research and theory (OFarrell and Ander-son 2010). The majority of literature reviewing REs results are focused on guided recovery and restoration of pre- existing degraded ecosystems, rather than more extensive restoration projects or complete restoration/reconstruction on sites where it has been altogether lost. Suding (2011, 465) states, despite the multitude of restoration projects and wide agreement that evalua-tion is a key to future progress, comprehensive evalua-tions are rare. A review of 240 recovery studies found that 35 percent were successful, 37 percent had mixed outcomes, and 28 percent had no recovery (Jones and Schmitz 2009). This survey indicates a relatively low overall success rate in a highly favorable study context. Palmer (2009, 1) highlights RE shortcomings, promi-nent examples of restoration methods or approaches are commonly used despite little evidence to support their effi cacy, and restoration ecology as a science and ecological restoration as a practice are in need of reform. The factors included in ecosystem restoration are complex and variable. Zedler (2000, 402) lists that landscape setting, habitat type, hydrological regime, soil properties, topography, nutrient supplies, dis-turbance regimes, invasive species, seed banks, and declining biodiversity can constrain the restoration process. She echoes challenges similar to Palmers, we have little ability to predict the path that sites will follow when restored in alternative ways, and no insur-ance that specifi c targets will be met.One of REs key goals of (re)attracting indig-enous fauna is highly questionable as results consistently show that information is limited on the extent to which plantings can provide habitat for fauna and in what time frame (Munro et al. 2009a, 150). An Australian article that reviewed 27 studies on fauna in revegetated agricultural areas stated, evi-dence to date suggests that revegetation is not a good replacement of remnant vegetation for many spe-cies (Munro, Lindenmayer, and Fischer 2007, 199). Another study found that after 30 to 40 years, results from RE plantings were hard to defi ne and inconclu-sive (Munro et al. 2009b). Many native/indigenous plantings are selected to provide for the perceived outcome of lower main-tenance and reduced water consumption. There is, however, a common misconception that native and indigenous plantings in urban landscapes require little or no maintenance. The SER state that ongoing ecosystem management is required to keep restora-tion projects eff ective (SER 2005) and that restora-tion represents an indefi nitely long- term commitment of land and resources (SER 2004, 1). In urban areas, museum landscapes are more common and may require endless intervention (Moreira et al. 2006, 221) yet interventions after the initial restoration can destroy and disturb equilibrium (Clewell and Aronson 2006).Maintenance of indigenous species often requires extensive weeding (usually conducted with herbi-cides) and pruning. Replanting is often necessary to meet safety requirements and avoid woody growth in urban areas. Some species that require fi re to regenerate or self- propagate, such as Xanthorrhoea and Banksia species in Australia, have been planted in areas where native plantings present a fi re threatas many other species are also highly fl ammable. Ongoing monitoring and maintenance is required to fulfi l an indigenous- only mantra. For example, at the award- winning Banksia Street constructed wetland in Canberra, the wetland was dredged and netted by ecologists to attempt to remove a feral species of fi sh,9 requiring that the Directorate will work closely with members of the com-munity to control these critters (ACT ESD nd) This is far from a novel ecosystem management approach and a task that will likely prove impossible. There are Figure 1A commonplace RE example (Top: Alstonville bypass, New South Wales ) aimed at increasing biodiversity and attracting indigenous fauna to a precarious environment. This approach is highly constructed.Bottom: the possibility of roadsides as productive landscapes for resources (for example, biofuels) and suitable crops for food production (e.g. pollution tolerant crops/livestock crops etc (Courtesy of Oxigen).238 Landscape Journal 32:2countless examples worldwide that mirror this example. Volunteer workforces and conservation groups build many indigenous landscapes, so the actual cost and intensity of installation, establishment, and aftercare can be skewed. REs return on investment, maintenance intensity, and suitability to urban contexts are often less ecological and low maintenance than intended. RE Differs in Rural and Urban Contexts As urban environments usually contain lower biodiversity that wildlands, species diversity in urban settings is a major challenge in ecology (Shochat et al. 2010, 199).Most RE is conducted and documented in non- urban environments. Does the introduction of regional and remote indigenous conservation and restoration values and practices into urban environments optimize urban land management? There are increased complexities, challenges, and pressures faced by RE and native/indigenous vegetation in urban environments (Sten-house 2004; Ingram 2008; Pavao- Zuckerman 2008; Musacchio 2008; Francis et al. 2008). The considerable time taken for REs outcomes undermine its appro-priateness in many urban environments, which have been characterized by rapid change in past centuries. Assessment timeframes typically range from 10 to 50 years, with longer timeframes for terrestrial systems (most common in urban scenarios). Success of RE is often achieved through avail-ability and local persistence of ecosystem storage mechanisms (such as seed banks) and where soils and natural landscape structures remain largely intact (Suding 2011) and contiguous with other restoration and conservation sites. In many urban areas these are uncommon. Additionally, the success of RE is very low at sites where changed species pools, impactful land- use legacies, and species feedbacks are present (Suding 2011). These complications are all commonplace in urban contexts (Stenhouse 2004). Thus, typical urban conditions create signifi cant challenges and very low odds for success of URE, or perhaps, present more ideal opportunities for alternative land use. Restoration Ecology Usually Requires Large and Undisturbed Scale for ViabilitySome RE proponents make clear that to have the highest chance of being eff ective, RE should occur at landscape and regional scales to combat continuous decline in conservation values across the globe (Hobbs and Norton 1996). Even in regional and rural environ-ments, it is recommended that, revegetation be con-ducted in patches that are large, wide and structurally complex to maximize the benefi ts to fauna (Munro 2007, 199). These recommendations present challenges for RE in space- constrained and human dominated urban environments. Urban areas with existing or potential landscape- scale corridors (Handel 2012) and large ecological regions may be more suited to URE. High land values can make building large extents of URE diffi cult to implement, especially if areas ideally exclude humans and/or human activities. Outside of such large- scale areas and corridors, UREs eff ectiveness, resilience, and ongoing urban via-bility is questionable. Maintaining viable populations of biologically and genetically diverse fauna in most urban areas is challenging or unrealistic. Regardless, large extents of wild habitat in urban areas can prove ineff ective due to predatory impacts from high numbers of domesticated animals (cats, dogs, and their wild descendants) (Stenhouse 2004). Fencing is an expensive, management- intensive, and often impractical option to exclude non- native species (Somers and Hayward 2012).WHAT PARADIGM SHIFTS ARE REQUIRED?While RE has noble intentions and some signifi cant achievements, its outcomes could be greater and its achievements more relevant if it demonstrated more fl exibility and willingness to collaborate with other approaches and techniques (Nassauer and Opdam 2008). RE is often closed and prescriptive, infl exible, and dogmatic. A core problem with RE is that it is often applied as a blanket approach and universal solution to site- specifi c issues. Imposing RE without consideration of context and suitability, especially in urban environments, does not optimize landscape outcomes. Eff ective urban landscape management should link culture and nature and provide services for present and future society. While this may include RE as part of a multifunctional landscape approach (Rodenburg and Nijkamp 2004) the sole use of native and indigenous vegetation based on past systems rather Zeunert 239than present and future systems is a retrospective and restrictive imposition. Restoring ecosystem services for utilization by humanity is not optimized by REs focus on static notions of historic native/indigenous landscapes and species (Redford and Adams 2009). As literal interpre-tations, these are often inappropriate to mitigate issues such as excess pollutants, nutrients, runoff , waste water, chemicals, salinity, acidifi cation, degradation, and the range of unnatural physical conditions in urban and peri- urban environments. RE frequently claims to achieve such outcomes but often results in a cosmetic application and pastiche of historic nature (Pierce 1994). Even if native/indigenous plants are capable of mitigating these issues there is a high likelihood that non- native plants will be more eff ective without necessarily excluding native fauna (Low 1999, 2003). Broadening restoration from the attempted reconstruc-tion of historical states to focus on delivering ecosys-tem services, resources, productivity, and resilience is paramount to improving its urban compatibility and eff ectiveness. This objective would be better achieved without dogmatic bias to nativism and indigenous plants, especially in areas where these no longer occur.Flexible landscape techniques aimed at improving ecosystem services relevant to current and future sys-tems are emerging. These may achieve environmental, social, and economic aims more directly and eff ec-tively than REs often rigid and historic restoration paradigm. It is logical to design and engineer effi cient, multifunctional landscape systems that are resilient in the face of human disturbance and to pressures of concentrated high intensity human use. Emerging techniques can be more eff ective at mitigating impacts caused by human activity. It is important to focus on urban strategies that improve environmental outcomes, ecosystem services, resilience, adaptation to climate change, future scenarios of resource scarcity, and peak everything (Heinberg 2007).CONCLUSION: ALTERNATIVES TO URBAN RESTORATION ECOLOGYAfter decades of implementation, RE fails to pro-vide clear predictions or outcomes from restoration scenarios in urban areas. Conversely, the increasing emergence of urban agriculture, water sensitive urban design (WSUD), productive landscapes, green infra-structure, and phytoremediation in urban areas off er the potential to address social and environmental contexts and deliver effi cient and eff ective ecosystem services for prevalent urban issues and concerns. Like- for- like comparisons with URE would be useful to quantify economic, social and environmental claims (and warrant further framework- establishing research that might point toward a more diversifi ed approach to resource conservation). Urban contexts usually provide many exploitable conditions that are well- suited to urban agriculture, WSUD, productive landscapes, and green infrastruc-ture. These include excess nutrients such as phos-phorus and nitrogen (unsuitable for most Australian native plants), pollutant and chemical runoff (prob-lematic for natural hydrology), resource hungry citi-zens and their domesticated animals (problematic for native biodiversity), demand for employment; desire for social participation; and desire for economic benefi ts. Garnett estimated that urban agriculture in London, if deployed at an overall rate of 20 percent of green open space, could supply London with 18 per-cent of their annual fruit and vegetable intake (1999). In cities with longer growing seasons or larger emp-tied tracts of land, this fi gure would be considerably higher. Victory Gardens in the USA accounted for 44percent of fresh vegetable production during World War II (Birnbaum 2013). Benefi ts of agriculture in many urban contexts include:1. efficient water use (1/5 to 1/10 usage rates compared to commercial agriculture) (Moar 2010; Brookman 2011),2. supplying fresh produce to urban areas via low food miles (Gaballa 2008), 3. utilizing urban wastewater and nutrients (reducing pollutant loads on freshwater and aquatic ecosystems), 4. utilizing food/green waste and compostable material from urban regions,5. using ecologically degraded urban and peri- urban land, and6. generating on- going employment and income; and increasing biodiversity (Garnett 1999).WSUD mitigates urban pollutants and can pro-vide space effi cient and non- chemical water fi ltration in urban areas. Biofi ltration is signifi cantly more 240 Landscape Journal 32:2space- effi cient than natural wetlands at removing pollutants. More research is required to assess poten-tial application and food or resource yields and productivity of WSUD plantings. Productive landscape approaches eschew cosmetic, ornamental species (exotic or native) in favor of useful, performance, and resource- focused landscapes (which need not preclude aesthetic or biodiversity concerns) (McLain et al 2012). In urban futures, conventional aesthetic priori-ties may lose their focus as performance of open space becomes progressively more important. Society is becoming increasingly critical of manicured faades of green space (Hough 1995) and the false natural-ness and pastiche of RE (Moreira et al. 2006), and has come to value a more rigorous assessment of the per-formance and embodied eff ects of open space (Melosi 2009). Increased use of landscape performance tools may raise viability of emerging performance- based landscape movements (OFarrell and Anderson 2010). Context is a more relevant concern in landscape mea-surement compared to architectural performance tools that often treat the building as an object in space. The embodiment of biases in performance and rating tools requires caution, as these tools can be prescrip-tive of values and objectives while passing as impartial, quantitative, and empirical. Arguably, urban land-scapes should address and provide for their context rather than impose a global or blanket agenda such as is manifested in many RE motivated projects.NOTES1. Green roofs and green walls entail technical complexity for installation and ongoing operation, and are an energy intensive way of reinstating pre- European vegetation.2. Architect Ken Yeang attempts to attract biodiversity to his skyscrapers, which are usually located in Asian megalopo-lises and highly urbanized areas.3. It is likely that there are site issues (such as soil salinity from land clearance or acidic soil from synthetic nitrogen used in agriculture) for which the past, historic reference landscapes never faced, nor are necessarily capable of effectively addressing (Suding 2011).4. Various authors have documented and advocated for the value of degraded landscapes (such as Low 1999, 2003; Hough 1995)5. Biocapacity refers to the capacity of a given biologically productive area to generate an on- going supply of renew-able resources and to absorb its wastes. Unsustainability occurs if the areas ecological footprint exceeds its bio-capacity. Biologically productive areas include croplands, pastures, forests, and fisheries.6. Australias population growth rate at around 2 percent is the highest of industrialized nations and means that its population will double somewhere midway through the 21st century.7. WIRES, a New South Wales based organization relying largely on volunteers rescued 75,000 animals in 2009.8. Indigenous Artist Lin Onuss installation Fruit Bats (1991) explored this conflict. Some bats carry the Hendra virus.9. Like many pest species, the small fish Gambusia were introduced to control mosquitoes but they prey on native fish, tadpoles, and macroinvertebrates.REFERENCESAustralian Capital Territory Environment and Sustainable Development (ACT ESD). nd. Banksia St Wetland. http://www.environment. .gov.au/water/constructed_wetlands/banksia_st [June 4, 2012]Ament, Rob, Anthony Clevenger, Olivia Yu and Amanda Hardy. 2008. An assessment of road impacts on wildlife populations in U.S. National parks. Environmental Management 42(3): 480496.Australias Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 20102030 (ABCS). 2010. Commonwealth of Australia: Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/strategy/index.html [July27, 2011].Barnett, Guy. 2003. Biodiversity and the built environment. LApapers, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects http://www.aila.org.au/lapapers/papers/CSIRO2/default.htm [Jan 20, 2012].Benson, Doug, and Jocelyn Howell. 1990. 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Ecological restoration of farmland: Progress and prospects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 363(1492): 831847 Whisenant, Steve. 2011. The Society for Ecological Restoration. Ecological Restoration 29(3): 207208.World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). 1987. Our Common Future: The world Commission on Environment and Development. London: Oxford University Press.Year Book Australia. 2002. Commonwealth of Australia: Australian Bureau of Statistics. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/bfc28642d31c215cca256b350010b3f4!OpenDocument [July 27, 2011].Zedler, Joy. 2000. Progress in wetland restoration ecology. TREE 15(10): 402407. . 2007. Success: An unclear, subjective descriptor of restoration outcomes. Ecological Restoration 25(3): 162168.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author would like to thank Lance Neckar and David Pitt for their editorial assistance. The author would also like to thank Tim Waterman, DrJanis Lander, Dr Jo Russell- Clarke, Alys Daroy, and the peer reviewers for their feedback and assistance with editing.AUTHOR Joshua Zeunert is a Lecturer at Writtle College in the UK. Formerly an AILA Registered Land-scape Architect in Australia, Josh practiced with leading landscape architecture design practices in Sydney and Adelaide while working as a casual academic at UNSW and UniSA, before becoming a lecturer at the University of Adelaide. Josh also holds a degree in architecture and has a background in environmental studies. His current research involves design thinking and practice in urban agriculture, productive landscapes, and environmental design. /ColorImageDict > /JPEG2000ColorACSImageDict > /JPEG2000ColorImageDict > /AntiAliasGrayImages false /CropGrayImages true /GrayImageMinResolution 300 /GrayImageMinResolutionPolicy /OK /DownsampleGrayImages true /GrayImageDownsampleType /Bicubic /GrayImageResolution 150 /GrayImageDepth -1 /GrayImageMinDownsampleDepth 2 /GrayImageDownsampleThreshold 2.00000 /EncodeGrayImages true /GrayImageFilter /DCTEncode /AutoFilterGrayImages true /GrayImageAutoFilterStrategy /JPEG /GrayACSImageDict > /GrayImageDict > /JPEG2000GrayACSImageDict > /JPEG2000GrayImageDict > /AntiAliasMonoImages false /CropMonoImages true /MonoImageMinResolution 1200 /MonoImageMinResolutionPolicy /OK /DownsampleMonoImages true /MonoImageDownsampleType /Bicubic /MonoImageResolution 300 /MonoImageDepth -1 /MonoImageDownsampleThreshold 1.50000 /EncodeMonoImages true /MonoImageFilter /CCITTFaxEncode /MonoImageDict > /AllowPSXObjects false /CheckCompliance [ /None ] /PDFX1aCheck false /PDFX3Check false /PDFXCompliantPDFOnly false /PDFXNoTrimBoxError true /PDFXTrimBoxToMediaBoxOffset [ 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 ] /PDFXSetBleedBoxToMediaBox true /PDFXBleedBoxToTrimBoxOffset [ 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 ] /PDFXOutputIntentProfile (None) /PDFXOutputConditionIdentifier () /PDFXOutputCondition () /PDFXRegistryName () /PDFXTrapped /False /CreateJDFFile false /Description > /Namespace [ (Adobe) (Common) (1.0) ] /OtherNamespaces [ > /FormElements false /GenerateStructure false /IncludeBookmarks false /IncludeHyperlinks false /IncludeInteractive false /IncludeLayers false /IncludeProfiles false /MultimediaHandling /UseObjectSettings /Namespace [ (Adobe) (CreativeSuite) (2.0) ] /PDFXOutputIntentProfileSelector /DocumentCMYK /PreserveEditing true /UntaggedCMYKHandling /LeaveUntagged /UntaggedRGBHandling /UseDocumentProfile /UseDocumentBleed false >> ]>> setdistillerparams> setpagedevice