Section: Ecology
Topic: Ecology, Environmental sciences

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.
Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.52
Type: Research article
Murray-Stoker, David 1

1 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3B2, Canada
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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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

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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