On the efficacy of restoration in stream networks: comments, critiques, and prospective recommendations

10.24072/pcjournal.52 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article no. e52.

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Swan and Brown (2017) recently addressed the effects of restoration on stream communities under the meta-community framework. Using a combination of headwater and mainstem streams, Swan and Brown (2017) evaluated how position within a stream network affected the outcome of restoration on invertebrate communities. Ostensibly, their hypotheses were partially supported as restoration had stronger effects in headwater streams: invertebrate taxonomic richness was increased and temporal variability decreased in restored reaches; however, these results were not consistent upon closer scrutiny for both the original paper (Swan and Brown 2017) and the later erratum (Swan and Brown 2018). Here, I provide a secondary analysis of the data, with hypotheses and interpretations in the context of stream, meta-community, and restoration ecology. Swan and Brown (2017, 2018) evaluated the effect of restoration on sites receiving various combinations of in-channel manipulation and riparian reforestation treatments. Given the difference in the relative importance of environmental filtering and dispersal between headwaters and mainstems and the structure of river networks, I contend that different restoration treatments have differential effects between headwaters and mainstems. I hypothesized in-channel manipulations would have more consistent effects between headwaters and mainstems compared to riparian reforestation, and I used this hypothesis to guide site selection in the re-analysis. I then compared results from the re-analysis to those presented by Swan and Brown (2017, 2018). I did not find any effects of restoration on local diversity, spatial dissimilarity, or temporal variability, let alone differential effects of restoration between headwaters and mainstems; these results are contrary Swan and Brown (2017, 2018), who reported that restoration increased taxonomic richness, increased spatial dissimilarity, and decreased temporal variability in restored headwater streams. I demonstrate further that the statistical tests conducted by Swan and Brown (2017, 2018) were invalid and, therefore, recommend the use of the results presented here. More broadly, I suggest, in agreement with Swan and Brown (2017, 2018) and a growing body of research, that river and stream restoration will likely have greater success if a regional approach is taken to designing and implementing restoration projects.
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DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.52
Murray-Stoker, David 1

1 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B2, Canada
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Murray-Stoker, David. On the efficacy of restoration in stream networks: comments, critiques, and prospective recommendations. Peer Community Journal, Volume 1 (2021), article  no. e52. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.52.

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.ecology.100052

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