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Making the connection: expanding the role of restoration genetics in restoring and evaluating connectivity

Proft, KM, Jones, ME ORCID: 0000-0001-7558-9022, Johnson, CN ORCID: 0000-0002-9719-3771 and Burridge, CP ORCID: 0000-0002-8185-6091 2018 , 'Making the connection: expanding the role of restoration genetics in restoring and evaluating connectivity' , Restoration Ecology, vol. 26, no. 3 , pp. 411-418 , doi: 10.1111/rec.12692.

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Abstract

The success of restoration activities is affected by connectivity with the surrounding landscape. From a genetic perspective, landscape connectivity can influence gene flow, effective size, and genetic diversity of populations, which in turn have impacts on the fitness and adaptive potential of species in restored areas. Researchers and practitioners are increasingly using genetic data to incorporate elements of connectivity into restoration planning and evaluation. We show that genetic studies of connectivity can improve restoration planning in three main ways. First, by comparing genetic estimates of contemporary and historical gene flow and population size, practitioners can establish historical baselines that may provide targets for restoration of connectivity. Second, empirical estimates of dispersal, landscape resistance to movement, and adaptive genetic variance can be derived from genetic data and used to parameterize existing restoration planning tools. Finally, restoration actions can also be targeted to remove barriers to gene flow or mitigate pinch-points in corridors. We also discuss appropriate methods for evaluating the restoration of gene flow over timescales required by practitioners. Collaboration between restoration geneticists, ecologists, and practitioners is needed to develop practical and innovative ways to further incorporate connectivity into restoration practice.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Proft, KM and Jones, ME and Johnson, CN and Burridge, CP
Keywords: restoration ecology, adaptive variation, connectivity, conservation genetics, landscape genetics, monitoring, restoration genetics
Journal or Publication Title: Restoration Ecology
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc
ISSN: 1061-2971
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/rec.12692
Copyright Information:

© 2018 Society for Ecological Restoration

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