New publication: Estimates of regeneration potential in the Pannonian sand region help prioritize ecological restoration interventions


Restoration prioritization helps determine optimal restoration interventions in national and regional spatial planning to create sustainable landscapes and maintain biodiversity. Here we investigate different forest-steppe vegetation types in the Pannonian sand region to provide restoration recommendations for conservation management, policy and research. We create spatial trajectories based on local, neighbouring and old-field regeneration capacity estimates of the Hungarian Habitat Mapping Database, compare the trajectories between different mesoregions and determine which environmental predictors possibly influence them at the mesoregion level using a random forest model. The trajectories indicate which types of passive or active restoration intervention are needed, including increasing connectivity, controlling invasive species, or introducing native species. Better restoration results can be achieve in the vicinity of larger (semi-)natural areas, but the specific site conditions must also be taken into account during prioritization. We also propose large-scale grassland restoration on abandoned agricultural fields instead of industrial forest plantations and afforestation with non-native species.

Published by Edina Csákvári, Zsolt Molnár and Melinda Halassy in journal Communications Biology.