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Restoring ecosystem services tool (REST) : A program for selecting species for restoration projects using a functional-trait approach

Donald Rayome, Nicole DiManno, Rebecca Ostertag, Susan Cordell, Bryson Fung, Anthony Vizzone, Pauleen Pante, Reuben Tate, Pacific Southwest Research Station, University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Stanford University
Restoration ecology, Planning, Data processing, Computer software, Development, and Forest restoration
This report describes the Restoring Ecosystem Services Tool (REST) computer program, which was developed to assist users in selecting plant species for more effective landscape management. Many habitats have been altered to the extent that it is no longer possible to restore their plant communities to their preexisting conditions. In these cases, a functional trait-based restoration approach to restoring some degree of ecosystem services, functionality, and structure may be helpful. To conduct functional trait-based restoration, information about the functional characteristics of species is required, and decisions are made by choosing a combination of species that have trait profiles that meet desired restoration goals. However, the value and applicability of functional trait-based restoration has been limited in its accessibility to land managers and stakeholders. The REST program is specifically designed to help users select a suite of plant species whose life history traits relate to addressing a specific management objective. Trait data from global databases have been incorporated into the program, providing some data from many species. Users define management objectives from a menu of available restoration goals (drought tolerance, fire tolerance, successional facilitation, or carbon storage) to filter for connected functional traits. Once the user has chosen appropriate functional traits for analysis, a potential species pool, chosen by the user, is required for analysis. Alternatively, users may upload their own trait and species data as a .csv file. REST then applies the statistical technique of principal components analysis to visualize species position in "trait space." The program provides written and visual analysis that compares the influence of each of the functional traits. The user can run REST with various species combinations, then apply this information to decisions about which species will best meet restoration objectives. New data and program versions can be found at https://hilo.hawaii.edu/faculty/ostertag/. Please contact Dr. Rebecca Ostertag at ostertag@hawaii.edu for program questions or concerns.
1 online resource (47 pages) : color illustrations
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station
USDA publications
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