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Great expectations: Deconstructing the process pathways underlying beaver-related restoration

January 27, 2021

Beaver-related restoration is a process-based strategy that seeks to address wide-ranging ecological objectives by reestablishing dam building in degraded stream systems. Although the beaver-related restoration has broad appeal, especially in water-limited systems, its effectiveness is not yet well documented. In this article, we present a process-expectation framework that links beaver-related restoration tactics to commonly expected outcomes by identifying the set of process pathways that must occur to achieve those expected outcomes. We explore the contingency implicit within this framework using social and biophysical data from project and research sites. This analysis reveals that outcomes are often predicated on complex process pathways over which humans have limited control. Consequently, expectations often shift through the course of projects, suggesting that a more useful paradigm for evaluating process-based restoration would be to identify relevant processes and to rigorously document how projects do or do not proceed along expected process pathways using both quantitative and qualitative data.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Great expectations: Deconstructing the process pathways underlying beaver-related restoration
DOI 10.1093/biosci/biaa165
Authors Caroline Nash, Gordon E. Grant, Susan Charnley, Jason B. Dunham, Hannah Gosnell, Mark B. Hausner, David S. Pilliod, Jimmy D. Taylor
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title BioScience
Index ID 70218711
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center