Conceptualizing Stream Ecosystem Restoration

Conceptualizing Stream Ecosystem Restoration

P. Clemens Langemeyer, MLWS 2016

Stream Ecosystem Network. For interactive version, visit

Land managers and conservationists generally agree that ecocentric restoration is a mandatory practice with regard to the development of a sustainable future. Years of unsuccessful restoration have led to the realization that conventional approaches are ineffective. Present-day restoration projects continue to be undermined by conceptual models founded decades ago: river systems were seen as inherently homogenous, held in equilibrium by natural processes, and that these processes remained constant regardless of scale. This has led to the continued misunderstanding of the heterogeneity and interconnectivity of streams, a perception that is still represented by conventional restoration practices.

The Stream Ecosystem Network is an interactive digital mind map that stimulates thought with respect to ecosystem connectivity, allowing users to visualize various components of stream ecosystems, and how they are interrelated. Environmental professionals capable of identifying and communicating interactions between system components across a multitude of disciplines (systems-thinkers) are a valuable asset to the continued development of this network. This project reviews and discusses how the network might benefit restoration ecologists throughout project development. Several published guidelines serve as a platform for discussing restoration strategy development and the re-integration of riverine natural processes.

Interactive Mind Map: